Plant species capable of hyper-accumulating heavy metals are of considerable interest for phytoremediation, and differ in their ability to accumulate metals from environment. Using two brassica species (Brassica juncea and Brassica napus), nutrient solution experiments were conducted to study variation in tolerance to cadmium (Cd) toxicity based on (1) lipid peroxidation and (2) changes in antioxidative defense system in leaves of both plants (i.e., superoxide dismutase (SOD EC 126.96.36.199), catalase (CAT EC 188.8.131.52), ascorbate peroxidase (APX EC 184.108.40.206), guaiacol peroxidase (GPX EC 220.127.116.11), glutathione reductase (GR EC 18.104.22.168), levels of phytochelatins (PCs), non-protein thiols (NP-SH), and glutathione. Plants were grown in nutrient solution under controlled environmental conditions, and subjected to increasing concentrations of Cd (0, 10, 25 and 50 μM) for 15 days. Results showed marked differences between both species. Brassica napus under Cd stress exhibited increased level of lipid peroxidation, as was evidenced by the increased malondialdehyde (MDA) content in leaves. However, in Brassicajuncea treated plants, MDA content remained unchanged. In Brassica napus, with the exception of GPX, activity levels of some antioxidant enzymes involved in detoxification of reactive oxygen species (ROS), including SOD, CAT, GR, and APX, decreased drastically at high Cd concentrations. By contrast, in leaves of Brassica juncea treated plants, there was either only slight or no change in the activities of the antioxidative enzymes. Analysis of the profile of anionic isoenzymes of GPX revealed qualitative changes occurring during Cd exposure for both species. Moreover, levels of NP-SH and PCs, monitored as metal detoxifying responses, were much increased in leaves of Brassica juncea by increasing Cd supply, but did not change in Brassica napus. These results indicate that Brassica juncea plants possess the greater potential for Cd accumulation and tolerance than Brassica napus.