AbstractThe influence of cross-linking and branching on the number of interconnections between lignin units and the number of end groups (phenolic and non-phenolic) in the lignin molecules is discussed. Branching results in an increased number of end groups. It appears from an evaluation of the literature that p-hydroxyphenylpropane units are phenolic to a larger extent than guaiacylpropane units and that such units in turn are phenolic to a larger extent than syringylpropane units. It is proposed that this is related to the relative oxidation potentials of the lignin units. Guaiacylpropane units C-substituted in the 6-position are phenolic to a large extent. Alternative explanations for this are presented.