Methane emissions from plant foliage may play an important role in the global methane cycle, but their size and the underlying source processes remain poorly understood. Here, we quantify methane fluxes from the shoots of Scots pine trees, a dominant tree species in boreal forests, to identify source processes and environmental drivers, and we evaluate whether these fluxes can be constrained at the ecosystem-level by eddy covariance flux measurements. We show that shoot-level measurements conducted in forest, garden, or greenhouse settings; on mature trees and saplings; manually and with an automated CO2-, temperature-, and water-controlled chamber system; and with multiple methane analyzers all resulted in comparable daytime fluxes (0.144 ± 0.019 to 0.375 ± 0.074 nmol CH4 g−1 foliar d.w. h−1). We further find that these emissions exhibit a pronounced diurnal cycle that closely follows photosynthetically active radiation and is further modulated by temperature. These diurnal patterns indicate that methane production is associated with diurnal cycle of sunlight, indicating that this production is either a byproduct of photosynthesis-associated biochemical reactions (e.g., the methionine cycle) or produced through nonenzymatic photochemical reactions in plant biomass. Moreover, we identified a light-dependent component in stand-level methane fluxes, which showed order-of-magnitude agreement with shoot-level measurements (0.968 ± 0.031 nmol CH4 g−1 h−1) and which provides an upper limit for shoot methane emissions.