The growth and metal uptake of two willow clones (Salix fragilis 'Belgisch Rood' and Salix viminalis 'Aage') was evaluated in a greenhouse pot experiment with six sediment-derived soils with increasing field Cd levels (0.9-41.4 mg kg-1). Metal concentrations of eight elements were measured in roots, stems and leaves and correlated to total and soil water metal concentrations. Dry weight root biomass, number of leaves and shoot length were measured to identify eventual negative responses of the trees. No growth inhibition was observed for both clones for any of the treatments (max. 41.4 mg kg-1 Cd, 1914 mg kg-1 Cr, 2422 mg kg-1 Zn, 655 mg kg -1 Pb), allowing their use for phytoextraction on a broad range of contaminated sediments. However, dry weight root biomass and total shoot length were significantly lower for S. viminalis compared to S. fragilis for all treatments. Willow foliar Cd concentrations were strongly correlated with soil and soil water Cd concentrations. Both clones exhibited high accumulation levels of Cd and Zn in aboveground plant parts, making them suitable subjects for phytoextraction research. Cu, Cr, Pb, Fe, Mn and Ni were found mainly in the roots. Bioconcentration factors of Cd and Zn in the leaves were highest for the treatments with the lowest soil Cd and Zn concentration. © 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.