Optical microscopy, electron probe microanalysis, and electron backscatter diffraction methods have been used to examine a broad range of garnet microstructures within a high strain zone that marks the western margin of a major transpression zone in the southern New England Appalachians. Garnet accommodated variable states of finite strain, expressed as low strain porphyroclasts (Type 1), high strain polycrystalline aggregates (Type 2), and transitional morphologies (Type 3) that range between these end members. Type 1 behaved as rigid porphyroclasts and is characterized by four concentric Ca growth zones. Type 2 help define foliation and lineation, are characterized by three Ca zones, and possess a consistent bulk crystallographic preferred orientation of (100) symmetrical to the tectonic fabric. Type 3 show variable degrees of porphyroclast associated with aggregate, where porphyroclasts display complex compositional zoning that corresponds to lattice distortion, low-angle boundaries, and subgrains, and aggregate CPO mimics porphyroclast orientation. All aggregates accommodated a significant proportion of greenschist facies deformation through grain boundary sliding, grain rotation and impingement, and pressure solution, which lead to a cohesive behavior and overall strain hardening of the aggregates. The characteristic CPO could not have been developed in this manner, and was the result of an older phase of partitioned amphibolite facies dislocation creep, recovery including chemical segregation, and recrystallization of porphyroclasts. This study demonstrates the significance of strain accommodation within garnet and its affect on composition under a range of PT conditions, and emphasizes the importance of utilizing EBSD methods with studies that rely upon a sound understanding of garnet. ?? 2010 Elsevier Ltd.