The uptake of pesticides from water by two aquatic plants, the submersed Lagarosiphon major (Ridley) Moss and the floating duckweed Lemna minor L., was measured over periods of up to 72 h. Twelve non-ionised pesticides and analogues, chosen to span a wide range of physicochemical properties, and one analogue (3,5-D) of the phenoxyacetic acid herbicide 2,4-D were studied. Concentrations of the parent compound were determined in the plants following extraction and separation by chromatography. Quantification was by liquid scintillation counting for the 14C-labelled compounds and by high-performance liquid chromatography for the four non-radiolabelled commercial pesticides. Uptake for all compound and plant combinations had reached equilibrium by 24 h. Accumulation of compound in the plant could be described well for most non-ionised compounds by equilibration into the aqueous phase in the plant cells together with partitioning onto the plant solids, this latter process becoming dominant in Lagarosiphon for compounds with log Kow > 1 and in Lemna for compounds with log Kow > 1.8. Lipophilic compounds with log Kow > 4 were concentrated more than 100-fold on a fresh-weight basis. However, the uptake of isoproturon and chlorotoluron was up to threefold less than expected from their Kow values, and their behaviour was better explained using solvation descriptors. Uptake of the acid 3,5-D was dependent on solution pH, this compound being strongly taken up at lower pH by the process of ion trapping, as previously observed in barley roots. Aquatic vegetation can thus rapidly accumulate pesticides, and could be an important sink especially for lipophilic pesticides reaching well-vegetated waters.