Predicting soil-to-plant transfer of radionuclides is restricted by the range of species for which concentration ratios (CRs) have been measured. Here the radioecological utility of meta-analyses of phylogenetic effects on alkali earth metals will be explored for applications such as 'gap-filling' of CRs, the identification of sentinel biomonitor plants and the selection of taxa for phytoremediation of radionuclide contaminated soils. REML modelling of extensive CR/concentration datasets shows that the concentrations in plants of Ca, Mg and Sr are significantly influenced by phylogeny. Phylogenetic effects of these elements are shown here to be similar. Ratios of Ca/Mg and Ca/Sr are known to be quite stable in plants so, assuming that Sr/Ra ratios are stable, phylogenetic effects and estimated mean CRs are used to predict Ra CRs for groups of plants with few measured data. Overall, there are well quantified plant variables that could contribute significantly to improving predictions of the fate radioisotopes in the soil-plant system. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.