Great genotypic variation in resistance against the gall midge Dasineura marginemtorquens Bremi (Diptera: Cecidomyiidae) exists within its willow host Salix viminalis L. (Salicaceae). In some resistant genotypes larvae die within 40 h after attempting to initiate galls. The present study tested the hypothesis that the hypersensitive response (HR) is involved in incompatible interactions between D. marginemtorquens and S. viminalis. By means of UV/blue light and visible light microscopy, we verified a rapidly (within 12 h after egg hatch) spreading cell death of an HR-type due to larval attack in resistant willow genotypes. Twelve h after egg hatch, the cell death had spread up to six cell layers in resistant S. viminalis genotypes whereas in susceptible genotypes only up to two cell layers were affected. In the groups of dead cells on the resistant genotypes accumulation of phenolics was observed within 24 h after egg hatch. The rapidity of the cell death induction, the early local accumulation of phenolic compounds, and the strong association of the cell death with larval mortality suggest that the formation of dead cells in resistant willow genotypes should be interpreted as a true HR.