Specialized (iso)eugenol 4-O-methyltransferase (s-IEMT) enzymes having increased capacity for methylation of monolignols are disclosed. The s-IEMTs have unique activity favoring methylation of coniferyl alcohol versus sinapyl alcohol. Various s-IEMTs methylate ferulic acid. Means for producing the various s-IEMTs are provided. The s-IEMTs are useful for modification of lignin content and production of aromatic compounds.
 This invention was made with Government support under contract number DE-AC02-98CH10886, awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy. The Government has certain rights in the invention.