The seed bank of Heracleum mantegazzianum, native to the western Caucasus and invasive in Europe, was studied in the Slavkovský les Protected Landscape Area, the Czech Republic, during the course of two growing seasons. In each of seven study sites with dominating stands of the species, soil samples were taken in October (after the fruit release), April (before germination) and June–July (before the fruit release). Ten samples were taken from each site using a soil hand bore, 4.6 cm in diameter. Seeds elutriated from the samples were immediately germinated in laboratory conditions (10°C, 12 h light/12 h dark); those that germinated during 1 month were considered as non-dormant. Non-germinated but viable seeds, tested for viability by tetrazolium, were considered as dormant. The number of dead seeds was also recorded. The total number of seeds significantly increased with mean density of flowering plants at a site. Of the total variation in seed-bank size, about four-fifths were attributed to that among sites, and one-fifth to that within sites. The number and proportion of living seeds differed significantly between years in summer, but not in autumn and spring. Total number and the numbers of dormant, non-dormant, living and dead seeds significantly differed among the autumn, spring and summer samples. The percentage of living seeds in the total seed bank decreased from 56% in autumn to 42% in spring to 15% in summer. The percentage of non-dormant seeds among those living was 0.3% in autumn, it increased to 87.5% in the spring sample, and decreased to 3% in summer. Pooled across all sites, the average seed numbers (expressed per m2) were 6719±4119 (mean±SD) in autumn, 4907±2278 in spring and 1301±1036 in summer for the total number of seeds, and 3759±2906, 2044±1198 and 192±165, respectively, for living seeds. The majority of seeds (95%) were concentrated in the upper 5 cm soil layer. However, some seeds were present in lower soil layers, which indicates a short-term persistent seed bank. The present data are the first quantitative estimate of the seed bank in H. mantegazzianum, and show that the reproductive potential of the species is enormous, which seems to be a crucial feature of its invasion success.