Copper(II) complexes of hexadentate ethylenediaminetetracarboxylic acid type ligands Heda3p and Heddadp (Heda3p = ethylenediamine-N-acetic-N,N',N'-tri-3-propionic acid; H eddadp = ethylenediamine-N,N'-diacetic-N,N'-di-3- propionic acid) have been prepared. An octahedral trans(O) geometry (two propionate ligands coordinated in axial positions) has been established crystallographically for the Ba[Cu(eda3p)]·8HO compound, while Ba[Cu(eddadp)]·8HO is proposed to adopt a trans(O ) geometry (two axial acetates) on the basis of density functional theory calculations and comparisons of IR and UV-vis spectral data. Experimental and computed structural data correlating similar copper(II) chelate complexes have been used to better understand the isomerism and departure from regular octahedral geometry within the series. The in-plane O-Cu-N chelate angles show the smallest deviation from the ideal octahedral value of 90°, and hence the lowest strain, for the eddadp complex with two equatorial ß-propionate rings. A linear dependence between tetragonality and the number of five-membered rings has been established. A natural bonding orbital analysis of the series of complexes is also presented.