Toxic effects of aluminium (Al) on root tips are considered to decrease export of cytokinins to shoots, and deficiency of cytokinins has been made responsible for Al-induced inhibition of shoot growth. But no experimental data on the influence of Al on endogenous cytokinin levels in higher plants have been reported. In this study, the endogenous levels of zeatin riboside (ZR) and dihydrozeatin riboside (DHZR) of roots, stems, and leaves of two bean cultivars (Phaseolus vulgaris L. cv Contender and cv Strike) exposed to Al in continuously flowing nutrient solution (pH 4.5) was analysed. The supply of a high Al concentration (sum of monomeric Al species, 127 μM) caused severe inhibition of root elongation in both cultivars. The cv Strike was more affected by both Al-induced mineral nutrient disorders and Al-induced alteration of leaf water relationships. In both cultivars Al-supply significantly increased ZR and DHZR. Leaves of Al-treated plants exhibited a more than three times higher concentration of ribosylated cytokinins than controls. Nevertheless, stomatal resistance was significantly increased by Al in both cultivars. Our results support the hypothesis that Al affects plants not by inducing deficiency of cytokinins but of some other factor necessary for the manifestation of cytokinin action. © 1994, Taylor & Francis Group, LLC. All rights reserved.