Concentrations of heavy metals (Cd, Pb, Cr, Ni, Zn and Cu) were measured in bottom sediments, water and Typha angustifolia and Potamogeton pectinatus in Sultan Marsh. Sultan Marsh is one of the largest and most important wetlands in Turkey, Middle East and Europe, embodying saline and fresh water ecosystems and providing a shelter for 426 bird species. The organs of T angustifolia have a larger quantity of the measured elements than the P. pectinatus. Considerably higher contents of Cd were found rather than in helophytes (P. pectinatus) in submerged plant ( = emergent, T angustfolia) species. The percentage of Cd in plant tissues points to a certain degree of water pollution in Sultan Mash. Analyses of water, bottom sediments and plant samples indicated that the Marsh were polluted with Pb, Cd, and partly with Cu and Zn. All sampling sites in the study area basin are generally more or less polluted when compared with the control values. Strong positive correlation was found between concentrations of Ph in water and in plants. Ni and Pb were accumulated by plants at a higher rate from bottom sediments than from water. Leaves of T angustifolia accumulated less heavy metal than the corresponding roots. There was a significant relationship between Cd concentration in samples of plants and water pH value. It has been found that the tissues of T angustifolia accumulate more heavy metals than the tissues of P. pectinatus. Therefore, all plants can be used as a biological indicator while determining environmental pressures; however, T angustifolia is proved more appropriate for such studies. (C) 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.