Aluminum (Al) is toxic to plants when solubilized into Al(3+) in acidic soils, and becomes a major factor limiting plant growth. However, the primary cause for Al toxicity remains unknown. Nitric oxide (NO) is an important signaling molecule modulating numerous physiological processes in plants. Here, we investigated the role of NO in Al toxicity to Hibiscus moscheutos. Exposure of H. moscheutos to Al(3+) led to a rapid inhibition of root elongation, and the inhibitory effect was alleviated by NO donor sodium nitroprusside (SNP). NO scavenger and inhibitors of NO synthase (NOS) and nitrate reductase had a similar inhibitory effect on root elongation. The inhibition of root elongation by these treatments was ameliorated by SNP. Aluminum inhibited activity of NOS and reduced endogenous NO concentrations. The alleviation of inhibition of root elongation induced by Al, NO scavenger and NOS inhibitor was correlated with endogenous NO concentrations in root apical cells, suggesting that reduction of endogenous NO concentrations resulting from inhibition of NOS activity could underpin Al-induced arrest of root elongation in H. moscheutos.