Cadmium is readily accumulated from growth media and culture solutions by many plant species; concentrations are generally higher in roots than in shoots. Symptoms of cadmium phytotoxicity (direct effects) include reduced photosynthesis and plant growth, wilting, chlorosis, red-brown pigment formation in leaf tissues, and stress ethylene evolution. However, little is known about possible residual effects on the progeny of plants grown in the presence of cadmium. An Arabidopsis thaliana (L.) Heynh. life cycle bioassay was developed to detect the direct and residual phytotoxicity of chemicals on terrestrial plant systems. To evaluate the bioassay protocol, Arabidopsis populations (first generation) were exposed to various concentrations of CdCl2; the progeny of these populations (second generation) were then grown and evaluated in a CdCl2-free environment.