Although current knowledge about the overall distribution of zinc (Zn) tolerance in Arabidopsis halleri populations is scarce, the species is an emerging model for the study of heavy metal tolerance in plants. We attempted to improve this knowledge by testing the Zn tolerance of scattered European metallicolous (M) and nonmetallicolous (NM) populations of A. h. subsp. halleri and A. h. subsp. ovirensis in hydroponic culture. The occurrence of constitutive tolerance was unconditionally established in A. h. halleri and tolerance was extended to the subspecies ovirensis. M populations were the most tolerant but there was a continuous range of variation in tolerance from NM to M populations. Finally, relatively high levels of tolerance were detected in some NM populations, suggesting that enhanced tolerance could be present at high frequency in populations that have not experienced metal exposure. We used our results to argue the evolutionary dynamics and origin of Zn tolerance in A. halleri.