1. The association between seed size and habitat shade within the British flora was investigated using a data set of seed masses, life histories and quantitative measures of habitat shade for 504 species; the association between seed size and seed longevity was investigated using a data set of seed masses, life histories and seed longevities for 301 species.
2. The data were analysed using the method of phylogenetically independent contrasts (PICs) calculated using the software package CAIC (Comparative Analysis by Independent Contrasts).
3. Seed mass was found to be positively correlated with habitat shade and negatively correlated with seed longevity, after variation owing to life history had been accounted for.