An ecological survey was conducted on the roadside vegetation at three different sites: Tai Po, a commercial and residential area (average annual daily traffic (AADT) = 23730; and Shek O and Wu Kai Sha, recreational areas (AADT = 1590 and 20, respectively). Cynodon dactylon and Eleusine indica were the two most dominant species recorded. The Tai Po site had higher Pb contents in both soil and plant, followed by Shek O, and then Wu Kai Sha. Tillers of C. dactylon and E. indica from the three sites were subjected to a series concentrations of Pb(NO₃)₂. By comparing their indexes of tolerance and values of 14-day EC₅₀ (effective concentration reducing the normal root growth by 50%), roadside populations of the two grasses collected from Tai Po and Shek O, especially the former one, were more tolerant to elevated levels of Pb compared with those collected from Wu Kai Sha. Copyright © 1985 Published by Elsevier Inc.