This paper examines the dispersal–germination strategy of seeds of 66 native tree species from a seasonal evergreen monsoon rainforest on Hainan Island, China, and assesses correlations among seed germination and phylogeny, dispersal mode and dispersal season. Seeds of 15, 7, 25 and 19 species were dispersed during the warm dry (March–May), rainy (June–September), late rainy (October–November) and cool dry (December–February) seasons, respectively. Berries (16 species), drupes (14 species) and capsules (12 species) were common and represented about 64% of the species. Zoochory was the most common dispersal mode (69.7%) followed by anemochory (16.7%) and autochory (13.6%). More than 65% of species had dormant seeds. Based on germination speed and synchrony, six patterns were recognized: rapid and synchronous germination (13 species), intermediate and synchronous germination (3 species), intermediate and intermediately synchronous germination (24 species), intermediate and asynchronous germination (2 species), slow and intermediately synchronous germination (5 species), and slow and asynchronous germination (19 species). One-way ANOVAs revealed that the variance in germination percentages among species was largely dependent upon phylogeny. The mean and median length of germination (MLG) were largely dependent upon phylogeny, dispersal mode and dispersal season. Anemochorous seeds germinated faster than autochorous and zoochorous seeds. Seeds dispersed in the late dry or early rainy season (March–May) tended to germinate quickly, whereas those dispersed towards the end of the rainy season and into the cool dry season are likely to have a much longer length of dormancy. Correlation analyses indicated that larger seeds germinated faster and had higher germination percentages.