Published information regarding the effect of storage temperature on dormancy alleviation of sunflower achenes is contradictory and ambiguous. In the present study we explored the effect of temperature during dry storage on dormancy release in two sunflower genotypes, including a commercial hybrid and an inbred line. Dry storage at 25°C consistently accelerated dormancy release of achenes compared with 5°C. This response fits the general pattern reported for dry after-ripening in seeds of many other species. Depending on the genotype and the dormancy factor prevailing, higher temperature alleviated embryo dormancy and coat-imposed dormancy. Hormonal pathways involved in these changes were investigated at the physiological level. In both genotypes, sensitivity to abscisic acid (ABA) was reduced by storage at 25°C. Also, but only in one genotype, storage at 25°C reduced ABA levels upon imbibition and increased the response to a gibberellin (GA) synthesis inhibitor and to applied GA3, compared with storage at 5°C; these results support the idea that temperature affects both ABA and GA metabolism and signalling pathways during after-ripening. This information will be useful to define storage conditions for commercial sunflower achenes, and will also help focus future research on the underlying mechanisms of dormancy release during dry after-ripening in sunflower.