Chromium is a pollutant present in tannery wastewater, its removal is necessary for protection of the environment. Penisetum purpureum, Brachiaria decumbens and Phragmites australis were grown hydroponically in experimental gravel beds to determine their potential for the phytoremediation of solutions containing 10 and 20 mg Cr dm�3. These concentrations, similar to tannery wastewater after initial physico-chemical treatment were used with the aim of developing an economic secondary treatment to protect the environment. All the systems achieved removal efficiencies of 97–99.6% within 24 h. P. purpureum and B. decumbens removed 78.1% and 68.5% respectively within the first hour. Both P. purpureum and B. decumbens were tolerant of the concentrations of chromium applied, but P. purpureum showed the greatest potential because its faster growth and larger biomass achieved a much greater chromium removal over the whole length of time of the experiment.