Plants play an important role as sinks for or indicators of semivolatile organic pollutants, however most studies have focused on terrestrial plants and insufficient information has been obtained on aquatic plants to clarify the accumulation of organic pollutants via air-to-leaf vs. water-to-leaf pathways. The presence of p, p'-dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene (p, p'-DDE), hexachlorobenzene (HCB), 15 polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), and 9 substituted PAHs (s-PAHs), including oxy-PAHs and sulfur-PAHs, in 10 submerged and emergent plants collected from Lake Dianchi was analyzed in this study. Relatively low concentrations of p, p'-DDE (ND to 2.22 ngig wet weight [ww]) and HCB (0.24-0.84 ng/g ww) and high levels of PAHs (46-244 ng/g ww) and s-PAHs (6.0-46.8 ng/g ww) were observed in the aquatic plants. Significantly higher concentrations of most of the compounds were detected in the leaves of the submerged plants than in those of the emergent plants. The percentages of concentration difference relative to the concentrations in the submerged plants were estimated at 55%, 40%, 10%-69% and 0.5% 79% for p, p'-DDE, HCB, PAHs, and s-PAHs, respectively. The percentages were found to increase significantly with an increase in log Kow, suggesting that the high level of phytoaccumulation of pollutants in aquatic plants is due to hydrophobicity-dependent diffusion via the water-to-leaf pathway and the mesophyll morphology of submerged plants. (C) 2018 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.