To study the bioconcentration of cadmium in water hyacinth, the plants were exposed to water containing 2 microg Cd2+/ml for extended periods of time. Three strains from several exposures during a 30-day period were sampled for the analyses of cadmium and thiol group. The data showed that the plant concentrates cadmium mainly in the roots and that the cadmium uptake is proportional to the increase of the thiol group content. The latter suggests the possibility of using the thiol group content to assess the bioconcentration of heavy metal ions in water hyacinth and as a general parameter for monitoring the heavy metal pollution of water. A simple two-compartmental model was used to simulate the kinetics of cadmium uptake. The calculated bioconcentration factor matches the one derived directly from experimental data, indicating the adequacy of the model.