Background and Aims Seedlings of Acanthocarpus preissii are needed for coastal sand dune restoration in Western Australia. However, seeds of this Western Australian endemic have proven to be very difficult to germinate. The aims of this study were to define a dormancy-breaking protocol, identify time of suitable conditions for dormancy-break in the field and classify the type of seed dormancy in this species.Methods Viability, water-uptake (imbibition) and seed and embryo characteristics were assessed for seeds collected in 2003 and in 2004 from two locations. The effects of GA(3), smoke-water, GA(3) + smoke-water and warm stratification were tested on seed dormancy-break. In a field study, soil temperature and the moisture content of soil and buried seeds were monitored for 1 year.Key Results Viability of fresh seeds was > 90 %, and they had a fully developed, curved-linear embryo. Fresh seeds imbibed water readily, with mass increasing approx. 52 % in 4 d. Non-treated fresh seeds and those exposed to 1000 ppm GA(3), 1 : 10 (v/v) smoke-water/water or 1000 ppm GA(3) + 1 : 10 (v/v) smoke-water/water germinated < 8 %. Fresh seeds germinated to > 80 % when warm-stratified for at least 7 weeks at 18/33 degrees C and then moved to 7/18 degrees C, whereas seeds incubated continuously at 7/18 degrees C germinated to < 20 %.Conclusions Seeds of A. preisii have non-deep physiological dormancy that is released by a period of warm stratification. Autumn (March/April) is the most likely time for warm stratification of seeds of this species in the field. This is the first report of the requirement for warm stratification for dormancy release in seeds of an Australian species.