Studies that quantify plant δ15N often assume that fractionation during nitrogen uptake and intra-plant variation in δ15N are minimal. We tested both assumptions by growing tomato (Lycopersicon esculetum Mill. cv. T-5) at NH4+ or NO−3 concentrations typical of those found in the soil. Fractionation did not occur with uptake; whole-plant δ15N was not significantly different from source δ15 N for plants grown on either nitrogen form. No intra-plant variation in δ15N was observed for plants grown with NH+4. In contrast. δ15N of leaves was as much as 5.8% greater than that of roots for plants grown with NO−3. The contrasting patterns of intra-plant variation are probably caused by different assimilation patterns. NH+4 is assimilated immediately in the root, so organic nitrogen in the shoot and root is the product of a single assimilation event. NO−3 assimilation can occur in shoots and roots. Fractionation during assimilation caused the δ15N of NO−3 to become enriched relative to organic nitrogen; the δ15N of NO−3 was 11.1 and 12.9% greater than the δ15N of organic nitrogen in leaves and roots, respectively. Leaf δ15N may therefore be greater than that of roots because the NO−3 available for assimilation in leaves originates from a NO−3 pool that was previously exposed to nitrate assimilation in the root.