Guayule (Parthenium argentatum Gray) is a rubber-producing shrub native to the semi-arid region of north central Mexico and southwestern Texas. Timely harvest is critical to achieve maximum seed viability, vigour, and yield. The objective of this study was to investigate possible indicators of optimum seed maturity in guayule. The optimum harvest maturity time for guayule was studied by comparing quality parameters at different times after flowering. Heat units expressed as growing degree-days after flowering were calculated and related to seed development stages and quality. Seed quality at different stages of development was assessed by germination, capitulum dry mass, 1000 seed mass, and percentage of filled seeds. The maximum seed quality was recorded at 329 growing degree-days (GDD). This was 28 days from time of flowering. At this date, the moisture content of the capitulum was 48% on a wet basis and the colour was comparable to cinnamon (Code 165C) on the Royal Horticultural Society (R.H.S.) standard colour chart. Of all the parameters GDD, 1000 seed mass, and percentage of filled seeds provided a more rapid and reliable measure of optimum seed maturity. Colour identification can be used as an additional indicator. (C) 2005 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.