Soil seed banks can play an important role in the restoration of degraded ecosystems, especially where indigenous species are well represented in, and invasive species are largely absent from, the seed bank. Here, we studied the potential contribution of the soil seed bank to the restoration of invaded, abandoned agricultural fields in the Eastern Cape, South Africa. We recorded the aboveground cover and belowground abundance of all vascular plant species from 120 quadrats that differ in cover of the extralimital woody invader, Pteronia incana. Our results show that higher cover of P. incana is associated with lower species richness, aboveground cover, and belowground seed abundance. Furthermore, community similarity between the above‐ and belowground component was low, with the seed bank and standing vegetation having only 15 species in common and 49 species being recorded only from the seed bank. We suggest that this large number of seed bank‐only species is a relic of previous vegetation, prior to large‐scale invasion by P. incana. The most important finding from our study is the absence of P. incana from the soil seed bank. This finding, combined with the large number of mostly native species from the seed bank, holds promise from a restoration perspective. However, given the susceptibility of the invaded systems to erosion, coupled with the low grazing value of the seed bank species, we suggest that P. incana removal should be accompanied by both erosion control measures and reseeding with palatable grass species, to secure the livelihoods of local communities.