this study evaluated different aspects of in vitro germination and embryogenic competence of immature zygotic embryos of e. edulis. the embryos germinated on full or half-strength ms (ms or ms/2) medium combined with sucrose (20, 30 and 40 g l-1). the effect of calcium chloride concentrations (0, 2, 4, 8, and 12 mm) on the induction of somatic embryogenesis was tested. the embryos were germinated on ms or ms/2. germination of zygotic embryos and the number of roots per plantlet were not affected by the culture medium and sucrose concentration. plantlet height and fresh weight were influenced by both; the difference was greatest in ms medium with 40 g l-1 sucrose. the induction of somatic embryogenesis was not influenced by doses of calcium chloride, whereas the number of somatic embryos formed was affected. the germination capacity of somatic embryos of heart-of-palm tree was not influenced by the media tested.