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The purpose of this study was to describe morphometric, physical and physiological characteristics of fruits and seeds of four provenances of Dipteryx alata, an important merchantable tree species of the Brazilian cerrado (savanna). The research was carried out at the Forest Seeds Laboratory of the Forest Sciences Department, Federal University of Lavras, Brazil. Seeds were collected from four localities, i.e. provenances, in the state of Minas Gerais: Brasilândia, Capinópolis, Curvelo, and Jequitaí. Samples of fruits and seeds from each provenance were measured and weighed for morphometric descriptions, and were assessed for variations in seed moisture, viability and vigour. Seed viability was assessed with germination tests, while seed vigour was assessed with daily counting of germinated seeds. The Czabator germination value and Maguire emergency speed index were used as vigour parameters, and were compared and assessed for their efficiency. The morphometric analyses indicated that the smaller fruits and seeds were those from Curvelo, while the longer and wider ones were from Capinópolis. The longest and widest seeds were also the heaviest. Seed moisture was low, between 6.14 and 8.25%; the highest and the lowest mean were found for Curvelo and Capinópolis, respectevely. There was no significant difference in germination among the provenances. The two parameters used to assess seed vigour were not adequate, although the emergency speed index had been more sensitive in detecting differences in seed vigour.