Powdery mildew infection of barley with the mlo5 barley powdery mildew resistance gene was examined, using near-isogenic barley lines, with and without mlo5 resistance, and two near-isogenic powdery mildew isolates, HL3/5 and GE3 with high (virulent) or low (avirulent) penetration efficiency on the resistant barley line. In all isolate–host combinations (except GE3 on the resistant barley line), frequency of haustorium formation increased significantly from zero at 11 h after inoculation to a maximum by 13 h, and there was no subsequent increase up to 24 h. In the susceptible barley line, 27% of appressoria from both isolates formed haustoria. Although this was significantly higher than the frequency of haustorium formation (18%) of HL3/5 on the resistant barley line, HL3/5 was much more successful than GE3 (frequency of haustorium formation less than 1%). The fact that HL3/5 did not possess a generally higher ability to penetrate successfully to form haustoria on the susceptible barley line, indicates that HL3/5 did not overcome the mlo5 resistance by being generally more vigorous. In the resistant barley line, papillae were larger than in the susceptible line; however, both isolates were associated with papillae of the same diameter at the time of penetration. We suggest that the mlo5 resistant barley line confers two different forms of resistance: isolate-specific and isolate-nonspecific.