A metallophyte is a plant that can tolerate high levels of heavy metals such as lead. Such plants range between "obligate metallophytes" (which can only survive in the presence of these metals), and "facultative metallophytes" which can tolerate such conditions but are not confined to them.
European examples include Alpine Pennycress, the Zinc Violet (Viola calaminaria), Spring Sandwort (Minuartia verna), Sea Thrift, Cochlearia, Common Bent (Agrostis capillaris) and Plantain (Plantago lanceolata). Few metallophytes are known from Latin America.
Metallophytes commonly exist as specialised flora found on spoil heaps of mines.
Such plants have potential for use for phytoremediation of contaminated ground.
- CRC dictionary of agricultural sciences, Robert Alan Lewis, CRC Press, 2001, ISBN 0-8493-2327-4
- Ecosystems of Disturbed Ground, Lawrence R Walker, Elsevier, 1999, ISBN 0-444-82420-0
- Ginocchio, Rosanna; Baker, Alan J.M. (2004), "Metallophytes in Latin America: a remarkable biological and genetic resource scarcely known and studied in the region", Revista chilena de historia natural 77 (1): 185–194