Substance P-like immunoreactivity has been localized in whole mount preparations of the isolated layers of the guinea-pig ileum. Axons containing substance P formed dense networks around the nerve cells and ran in the primary, secondary and tertiary nerve bundles of the myenteric plexus. 3.6% of the nerve cell bodies of the myenteric plexus and 11.3% of the cell bodies in the submucous plexus showed immunoreactivity for substance P. Axons ran in fine nerve bundles parallel to the longitudinal muscle, between this muscle and the myenteric plexus. Axons containing substance P also ran in small nerve trunks parallel to the circular muscle throughout its thickness and in the deep muscular plexus at the base of this muscle coat. In the submucosa, these axons ramified amongst ganglion cells of the plexus and ran in the internodal strands. In addition they formed a perivascular network around submucous arteries and contributed to the paravascular nerves following these arteries. Axons containing substance P formed a delicate plexus in the mucosa. After extrinsic denervation the nerves containing substance P that were associated with submucous arteries, and some in the submucous plexus, disappeared. The nerves in the other areas were not detectably different from normal. Comparison with the distribution of somatostatin, enkephalin and vasoactive intestinal polypeptide indicated the neurons containing substance P constitute a separate population within the enteric nervous system.