Fosbergia shweliensis is a potentially critically endangered Chinese tree species. However, there is little known about the seed biology of this species. Here we performed germination and desiccation trials of its seeds. Fresh seeds of F. shweliensis were not dormant and germinated optimally at 25 degrees C (100% germination). There was 92% germination when seed moisture content (MC) was reduced to 16% (fresh weight basis). Further drying at 15 degrees C and 15% relative humidity, reduced germination to 73% when seed MC was 12% and drying to 7% MC resulted in complete loss in viability. These results indicate that F. shweliensis seeds are partly desiccation-tolerant (i.e. intermediate in storage behaviour). The present research supplied seed germination information and guidance about seed storage for the genetic conservation and restoration of this species.