The study was conducted with an aim to remediate effluent from a pulp and paper mill, after treating it for 28 days with an aquatic fern, Salvinia cucullata. The effluent had high BOD, COD, TS, TSS, TDS, P, hardness and chloride, and several heavy metals (Cd, Cu, Cr, Ni, Pb, Mg, Mn, Fe and Zn) above national limits. However, the plant survived a wide range of effluent concentrations (25%, 50%, 75% and 100%, v/v), and flourished well, particularly at 25% (v/v), resisted membrane injury and generation of H2O2 and O2, showed better growth and induced all the major antioxidant enzymes. The plants also induced lipid peroxidation. Most of the elemental profiles were higher than the toxic levels stipulated for plants, indicating tolerance to metal. In fact, barring Fe, for Cr, Cu, Pb, Zn, Mg and P, at all the effluent doses, and for Cd, Ni and Mn, up to 75% (v/v) effluent, greater concentrations were observed in leaf than in root. This plant was more suited for nutrient removal, as it effectively reduced BOD, Zn, Fe, Ni, Mg, P and increased dissolve oxygen. Further, pH, hardness, chloride, TS and Mn was reduced optimally by 25-50% (v/v) treatments. SEM revealed prominent structural damages from 50 to 100% treatments. Presence of Pb as well as Fe in the EDX peaks were observed in the cortex rather than in the root vascular zone. This plant could be suggested to be an effective phytoremediator of multi-contaminant effluent with maximum benefit at low doses (25-50%, v/v).