The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of copper (Cu) stress on accumulation and transport of trace elements, nitrogen assimilation, and growth parameters of Verbascum olympicum. Eight-week-old seedlings were grown in Hoagland's solution and exposed to 0, 50, 250, or 500 mu M CuSO4 for seven days in laboratory conditions. Bioaccumulation of trace elements (boron, bismuth, cobalt, Cu, iron, lithium, manganese, molybdenum, nickel, lead, zinc) in the roots and leaves was determined by inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry after one, three, and seven days. Chlorophyll content, nitrate reductase, and glutamine synthetase activities, soluble protein content, and biomass were determined. Copper accumulated in the roots and leaves (up to 19609.8 and 256.2 mg kg(-1) dry weight, respectively). Other trace elements accumulated to higher levels in the roots of Cu-treated plants compared with those of control plants. High Cu concentrations decreased nitrogen-assimilatory enzyme activities. Compared with control plants, those treated with high Cu concentrations showed lower chlorophyll contents, total protein contents, and biomass. Nitrogen assimilation and growth parameters of V. olympicum were negatively affected by Cu treatment but mineral nutrition was not severely disrupted. The results support the suitability of V. olympicum as a candidate for phytoremediation of Cu-contaminated soils.