Two species of tomato, Lycopersicon chilense Dun. and Solanum pennellii Corr., which have drought-resistant characteristics, were compared to the commercial tomato, Lycopersicon esculentum Mill. cv. Campbell 1327, to evaluate the effects of water deficits on germination and early seedling growth at 25, 30, and 35°C. Five levels or water stress (0, −2, −4, −6, and −8 bars) were maintained by solutions of polyethylene glycol (PEG) 6000. Germination of dry seed was inhibited more by water stress than by growth of the germinated seedlings of each species. Germinated seed of all species were able to continue growth at 35° plus water stress at all levels, while germination under the same conditions was totally suppressed. The water-sensitive phase of germination occurred just prior to radicle emergence. Emergence was not affected by sowing germinated seed in a drying soil; but sowing dry seed under the same conditions resulted in a decrease in emergence. Germination and seedling growth of L. chilense and S. pennellii were more sensitive to water stress than L. esculentum at 25°. At 30 and 35°, L chilense, S. pennellii and L. esculentum had similar rates of germination and similar amounts of early seedling growth.