Abstract. Hypothesis testing in phytocoenological applications is likely to be hindered when based on conventional statistical methods. The problem created by unrealistic assumptions can, however, be overcome by randomization. This paper discusses the general idea of randomization testing, describes a method and interprets its application in group comparisons. Two sets of variables are involved, the vegetation set on the basis of which the groups are compared and the environmental factors which delimit the groups under different analytical designs. Although simple partitioning of sum of squares is at the core of the test, the method has versatility of testing uni- or multifactor designs, which is novel in phytocoenological applications. The algorithm has been implemented in programs SYNCSA and MULTIV by V.P. Data from the Campos of southern Brazil are used for illustration.