Soil cores were collected at different times between the seed germination and dispersal seasons of Eupatorium adenophorum from 19 sites at five stations with different kinds of vegetation in Yunnan, south-western China. Mother plants of E. adenophorum were absent from eight of the sites, and their frequency was low at nine other sites. However, persistent soil seed banks were present at all 19 sites. Seed density in the 0–10 cm soil layer varied from 47 to 13,806 seeds m−2, and averaged 2199 seeds m−2. Fifty-seven percent of the seeds of E. adenophorum were in the 0–2 cm soil layer, 24% in the 2–5 cm layer and 19% in the 5–10 cm layer. The percentage of cores from which seedlings emerged ranged from 33–100% across all sites. Seed density and seedling emergence percentages varied significantly among the five stations, and both were positively correlated with abundance of mother plants.