Copper and zinc tolerances of 10 micropropagated birch (Betula pendula and B. pubescens) clones were studied in hydroponic culture. Tolerance indices were determined, based on the mean growth rate of the longest root in 1 wk. A seed-derived clone (142A), from a lead/Zn-contaminated site showed more tolerance to Cu and Zn than bud-derived clones (HA02 and HA18) from a Cu/nickel-contaminated site or an ozone-tolerant clone (KL-2-M) from an uncontaminated area. For Cu, the EC50 values were 30, 14, 8 and 11 μM in clones 142A, HA02, HA18 and KL-2-M, respectively. FOT Zn, the EC50 s were 4000 and 350 μM in clones 142A and KL-2-M, respectively. The relative Cu and Zn tolerances of the other clones were estimated by growing the plants in 30 μ CuSO4, and in 2000 or 350 μM ZnSO4, respectively. It is of interest that the Zn-tolerant clone 142A was tolerant to Cu, although this metal was present at a very low concentration in the soil where the parent tree grows. Another clone (142B), from another seed of the same parent tree, was tolerant neither to Zn nor Cu. Compared with their own EC20s for root growth for Cu, 142A took up more Cu than KL-2-M, suggesting that the higher tolerance of the former clone is not explained by reduced uptake of Cu. The Zn uptake in clones 142A and KL-2-M was studied at 4000 μM and 800 μM Zn, respectively. Interestingly, the roots of both clones contained the same amount of Zn, even though clone 142A was exposed to a fivefold concentration of Zn.