Alyssum discolor biomass was collected from serpentine soil and was used for removal of metal ions. The plant species grown on serpentine soils are known to be rich with metals ions and thus have more capability for accumulating heavy metals. Native and acid-treated biomass of A. discolor (A. discolor) were utilized for the removal of Ni(II) and Cu(II) ions from aqueous solutions. The effects of contact time, initial concentration, and pH on the biosorption of Ni(II) and Cu(II) ions were investigated. Biosorption equilibrium was established in about 60 min. The surface properties of the biomass preparations were varied with pH, and the maximum amounts of Ni(II) and Cu(II) ions on both A. discolor biomass preparations were adsorbed at pH 5.0. The maximum biosorption capacities of the native, and acid-treated biomass preparations for Ni(II) were 13.1 and 34.7 mg g(-1) and for Cu(II) 6.15 and 17.8 mg g(-1) dry biomass, respectively. The biosorption of Ni(II) and Cu(II) ions from single and binary component systems can be successfully described by Langmuir and Freundlich isotherms. When the heavy metal ions were in competition, the amounts of biosorbed metal ions on the acid treated plant biomass were found to be 0.542 mmol g(-1) for Ni(II) and 0.162 mmol g(-1) for Cu(II), the A. discolor biomass was significantly selective for Ni(II) ions. The information gained from these studies was expected to indicate whether the native, and acid-treated forms can have the potential to be used for the removal and recovery of Ni(II) ions from wastewaters. (C) 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.