Ion accumulation and growth under salt stress was studied in two experiments in a rice mapping population derived from parents CO39 and Moroberekan with 4-fold differences in shoot Na+ accumulation. The 120 recombinant inbred lines (RILs) had differences up to 100-fold in Na +. Measurement of 'salt tolerance' (biomass production of the RILs in 100mM NaCl relative to controls) after 42 days showed a 2-fold variation in 'salt tolerance' between parents, with five RILs being more tolerant than the more tolerant parent CO39. The reliability of various traits for selecting salt tolerance in large populations was explored by measuring Na+, K+ and K+/Na+ ratios in leaf blades and sheaths after 7 or 21 days of exposure to 100mM NaCl, and their correlation with various growth components and with leaf injury. The highest correlations were found for Na + in the leaf blade on day 21 with injury at day 42 in both experiments (r=0.7). Earlier measurements of Na+ or of injury had lower correlations. The most sensitive growth components were tiller number plant-1 and shoot water content (g water g-1 dry weight), and these were correlated significantly with Na+ and, to a lesser extent, with K+/Na+. These studies showed that exposure for at least 42 days may be needed to clearly demonstrate the beneficial effect of the trait for Na+ exclusion on growth under salinity.