Possible usages of dried water hyacinth as biosorbent for metal ions were investigated. A model describing the plant is presented on density functional theory DFT and verified experimentally with FTIR. The model shows that water hyacinth is a mixture of cellulose and lignin. Dried shoot and root were found as good sorbent for Cd(II) and Pb(II) at optimum dosage of 5.0 g/l and pH 5.0; equilibrium time was attained within 30-60 min. The removal using root and shoot were nearly equal and reached more than 75% for Cd and more than 90% for Pb. Finally the second-order kinetics was the applicable model. Hydrogen bonds of reactive functional groups like COOH play the key role in the removal process. (C) 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.