The wood of tuliptrees (Liriodendron tulipifera L.) growing above groundwater contamination from a hazardous-waste landfill in Maryland contained elevated concentrations of potassium (K). The groundwater contamination also contained elevated concentrations of dissolved K, as well as arsenic (As), cadmium (Cd), chloride (Cl), iron (Fe), manganese (Mn), zinc (Zn), and organic solvents. The dissolved K is derived from disposed smoke munitions. The excess K in the tuliptrees is concentrated in the heartwood, the part of the xylem most depleted in K in trees growing outside of the contamination. These data show that the uptake and translocation of K by tuliptrees can be strongly influenced by the availability of K in groundwater contamination and suggest the utility of this species as an areal indicator of groundwater contamination. ?? 1992 Springer-Verlag New York Inc.