The addition of selenate or selenite to common fertilizers for crop production could be an effective way of producing selenium-rich food and feed. However, this would be feasible only if the increase in plant selenium (Se) content did not negatively influence the uptake of other essential elements. We therefore need to understand the interactions between Se and other major and trace elements during uptake by the plant. This study aimed to evaluate the influence of inorganic forms of Se on the accumulation of selected macronutrients (Ca and Mg) and micronutrients (Fe, Zn, Mn and Cu). Those essential elements are involved in the oxidative balance of cells. Zea mays seedlings were grown hydroponically in growth chambers in nutrient solutions to which we added 10, 50 or 1000 μg.L(-1) of selenate and/or selenite. Cation accumulation was significantly affected by the addition of 50 μg.L(-1) or 1000 μg.L(-1) Se, but not by the presence of 10 μg.L(-1) of Se in the nutrient solution. The highest concentration (1000 μg.L(-1)) of Se in the nutrient solution affected the accumulation of essential cations in Zea mays: selenate tended to increase the accumulation of Mg, Zn and Mn, whereas a selenate/selenite mixture tended to decrease the accumulation of Ca, Mg, Zn and Mn. Only Fe accumulation was unaffected by Se whatever its form or concentration. Selenium may also affect the distribution of cations on Zea mays. For example, levels of Mg and Zn translocation to the shoots were lower in the presence of selenite.