Xanthomonas campestris pv. malvacearum was transmitted from infested seed to the cotyledons of cotton cv. Deltapine 61 seedlings at 28°C and relative humidities (RH) of 90% or 73%. A resident population was present on the first and second true leaves but not on the third true leaf of plants at either RH. There were smaller numbers of resident bacteria on fewer leaves of plants at the lower RH than on plants at the higher RH. Cotton plants grown from infested seed at 25°C and 30°C and incubated at 100% RH at different stages of growth developed bacterial blight on leaves that were in bud or partly expanded when incubated. Resident cells of this pathogen can thus invade susceptible leaves when conditions are favourable for infection. Bacterial blight developed on more plants at 30°C than at 25°C. In a field trial, X. campestris pv. malvacearum transmitted from seed was present as resident bacteria on the third leaf from the growing point during the vegetative development of the plant. Resident bacteria, which infected young leaves during rainy periods, were isolated from the bacterial blight lesions which subsequently developed.