Plant communities in the verges of major roadways (roadsides) are similar to those of abandoned farm fields undergoing succession (oldfields). However, roadsides are subject to distinctive stresses. Here, we look at local adaptation in Hesperis matronalis L. to salinity and manganese (Mn). Plants collected from three roadside and three oldfield populations were grown in a greenhouse under controlled, high-salinity, and high-Mn conditions, and several life history traits were measured. In addition, we imposed a density treatment after vernalization. Mortality was high in both the salt (43% survival) and Mn treatments (53% survival) compared with the control (71% survival). Distinct family, population, and site variation was found in measures of plant size. There were also family-level differences in response to soil treatments. However, none of our results were consistent with local adaptation. In general, larger plants were more likely to bolt, and oldfield plants were less likely to bolt than roadside plants in all treatments (in the low-density treatment, 56% of roadside plants had bolted compared with only 16% of oldfield plants). We found that the high-density treatments resulted in earlier bolting and longer internodes, a result consistent with the shade avoidance hypothesis.Key words: biennial, salinity, phenotypic plasticity, heavy metal, local adaptation.