Abstract Aluminum (Al) is the most abundant metal in the earth's crust, while its soluble ionic form (Al3+) shows phytotoxicity, which is characterized by a rapid inhibition of root elongation. Aluminum targets multiple cellular sites by binding, resulting in disrupted structure and/or functions of the cell wall, plasma membrane, signal transduction pathway, and Ca homeostasis. On the other hand, some plant species have evolved mechanisms to cope with Al toxicity both externally and internally. The well‐documented mechanisms for external detoxification of Al include the release of organic acid anions from roots and alkalination of the rhizosphere. Genes encoding transporters for Al‐induced secretion of organic acid anions have been identified and characterized. Recent studies show that ABC transporters are involved in Al resistance. The internal detoxification of Al in Al‐accumulating plants is achieved by the formation of nontoxic Al complexes with organic acids or other chelators and sequestration of these complexes in the vacuoles. In some plant species, Al shows beneficial effects on plant growth under particular conditions, although the exact mechanisms for these effects are unknown.