Sesbania [Sesbania cannabina (Retz.) Pers.] is a problematic emerging weed species in Australian cotton-farming systems. However, globally, no information is available regarding its seed germination biology, and better understanding will help in devising superior management strategies to prevent further infestations. Laboratory and glasshouse studies were conducted to evaluate the impact of various environmental factors such as light, temperature, salt, osmotic and pH stress, and burial depth on germination and emergence of two Australian biotypes of S. cannabina. Freshly harvested seeds of both biotypes possessed physical dormancy. A boiling-water scarification treatment (100 +/- 2 C) of 5-min duration was the optimum treatment to overcome this dormancy. Once dormancy was broken, the Dalby biotype exhibited a greater germination (93%) compared with the St George biotype (87%). The nondormant seeds of both biotypes showed a neutral photoblastic response to light and dark conditions, with germination marginally improved (6%) under illumination. Maximum germination of both biotypes occurred under an alternating temperature regime of 30/20 and 35/25 C and under constant temperatures of 32 or 35 C, with no germination at 8 or 11 C. Seed germination of both biotypes decreased linearly from 87% to 14% with an increase in moisture stress from 0.0 to -0.8 MPa, with no germination possible at -1.0 MPa. There was a gradual decline in germination for both biotypes when imbibed in a range of salt solutions of 25 to 250 mM, with a 50% reduction in germination occurring at 150 mM. Both biotypes germinated well under a wide range of pH values (4.0 to 10.0), with maximum germination (94%) at pH 9.0. The greatest emergence rate of the Dalby (87%) and St George (78%) biotypes was recorded at a burial depth of 1.0 cm, with no emergence at 16.0 cm. Deep tillage seems to be the best management strategy to stop S. cannabina's emergence and further infestation of cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.) fields. The findings of this study will be helpful to cotton agronomists in devising effective, sustainable, and efficient integrated weed management strategies for the control of S. cannabina in cotton cropping lands.