Radish (Raphanus sativus L. cv. Redondo Vermelho) seedlings were analysed by light and scanning electron microscopy to characterize the structural changes caused by the exposure to 0.5 or 1.0 mM cadmium chloride for 24, 48 and 72 h. The analyses showed changes in the anatomical and morphological characteristics of roots, stems and leaves of two-week-old seedlings. In all tissues, pressure potential was decreased. Premature death with the disintegration of the epidermis and an increase in the number of root hairs was observed in roots exposed to Cd. The stem of seedlings exposed to Cd exhibited more cells layers in the cambial region. The main effects observed in leaves in response to Cd were stomatal closure, lack of cell wall thickening and alterations in the shape of the chloroplasts. It is suggested that the structural changes observed in seedlings treated with Cd were mainly caused by a Cd-induced decrease in water uptake.