We have studied the mechanism of UV protection in two duckweed species (Lemnaceae) by exploiting the UV sensitivity of photosystem II as an in situ sensor for radiation stress. A UV-tolerant Spirodela punctata G.F.W. Meyer ecotype had significantly higher indole-3-acetic acid (IAA) levels than a UV-sensitive ecotype. Parallel work on Lemna gibba mutants suggested that UV tolerance is linked to IAA degradation rather than to levels of free or conjugated IAA. This linkage is consistent with a role for class III phenolic peroxidases, which have been implicated both in the degradation of IAA and the cross-linking of various UV-absorbing phenolics. Biochemical analysis revealed increased activity of a specific peroxidase isozyme in both UV-tolerant duckweed lines. The hypothesis that peroxidases play a role in UV protection was tested in a direct manner using genetically modified tobacco (Nicotiana sylvestris). It was found that increased activity of the anionic peroxidase correlated with increased tolerance to UV radiation as well as decreased levels of free auxin. We conclude that phenol-oxidizing peroxidases concurrently contribute to UV protection as well as the control of leaf and plant architecture.