A direct linear relationship between germination responses to light and alternating temperatures and storage period was recorded when seeds of three populations of Dactylis glomerata L. of contrasting origin were stored under cool dry laboratory conditions (15°C, 15% r.h.). Under these conditions the rate of after-ripening in two batches of a Mediterranean population were independent of original dormancy level but lower than in populations originating from southern England and Western France. The effects of storage on germination responses were additive in all cases. In contrast, when seeds of a population from southern England were stored under natural conditions of temperature and humidity from August to April germination behaviour was dependent on the conditions used in germination tests. Evidence is presented that the rate of loss of primary dormancy under natural conditions exceeded that which occurred during controlled storage in the laboratory. An apparent simultaneous loss of primary dormancy and induction of secondary dormancy observed when seeds were stored under natural conditions is discussed. Dry storage at −75°C effectively arrested after-ripening over a period of 110 weeks.