Ascospores of both A-group and B-group Leptosphaeria maculans germinated at temperatures from 5 to 20degreesC on leaves of oilseed rape. Germination of ascospores of both groups started 2 h after inoculation and percentage germination reached its maximum about 14 h after inoculation at all temperatures. Both the percentage of A-/B-group ascospores that had germinated after 24 h incubation and germ tube length increased with increasing temperature from 5 to 20degreesC. Germ tubes from B-group ascospores were longer than those from A-group ascospores at all temperatures, with the greatest difference at 20degreesC. Hyphae from ascospores of both groups penetrated the leaves predominantly through stomata, at temperatures from 5 to 20degreesC. A-group ascospores produced highly branched hyphae that grew tortuously, whereas B-group ascospores produced long, straight hyphae. The percentage of germinated ascospores that penetrated stomata increased with increasing temperature from 5 to 20degreesC and was greater for A-group than for B-group L. maculans after 40 h incubation.