Hevea brasiliensis is the main commercial source of natural rubber. Reactive oxygen species (ROS) scavenging systems are involved in various biotic and abiotic stresses. Genetic engineering was undertaken to study the strengthening of plant defences by antioxidants. To that end, Hevea transgenic plant lines over-expressing a Hevea brasiliensis cytosolic HbCuZnSOD gene were successfully established and regenerated. Over-expression of the HbCuZnSOD gene was not clearly related to an increase in SOD activity in plant leaves. The impact of HbCuZnSOD gene over-expression in somatic embryogenesis and in plant development are presented and discussed. The water deficit tolerance of two HbCuZnSOD over-expressing lines was evaluated. The physiological parameters of transgenic plantlets subjected to a water deficit suggested that plants from line TS4T8An displayed lower stomatal conductance and a higher proline content. Over-expression of the HbCuZnSOD gene and activation of all ROS-scavenging enzymes also suggested that protection against ROS was more efficient in the TS4T8An transgenic line.