The present work aims to determine whether there are patterns of seed and germination characteristics in Vellozia due to the phylogenetic proximity among the species examined and if these characteristics explain their restricted geographical distributions. We evaluated the germination characteristics of freshly collected seeds from 13 species of the genus Vellozia (Velloziaceae) that show different degrees of endemism, collected at various locations in the Espinhaço Mountain Range in Minas Gerais State, south-eastern Brazil. The size and mass of the seeds, as well as the influence of light and temperature on their germination, were measured. Experiments were performed in germination chambers under constant temperatures of 10–40°C (intervals of 5°C), with a 12-h photoperiod, as well as in continuous darkness. All species studied had small seeds with mass varying from 0.06 to 1.21 mg. Most species required light for germination, displaying high germinability in the range of 15–40°C; some species, however, germinated in the absence of light at the highest temperatures (35 and 40°C). The sizes and masses of the seeds showed significant linear correlations, but light sensitivity was not related to these seed characteristics. The responses observed suggest that light requirement for germination, associated with the small sizes of Vellozia spp. seeds, contribute to the formation of persistent seed banks. The observed tolerance of these seeds to a wide range of germination temperatures is consistent with the large daily temperature fluctuations experienced in campos rupestres sites, although these seed characteristics cannot by themselves explain the high degree of endemism or the restricted distributions observed among the species examined.