The frequency and distribution of different specific phenotypes for resistance to Erysiphe fischeri was studied in two populations of the annual weed Senecio vulgaris (groundsel) one located in Glasgow, Scotland the other located about 480 km south at Wellesbourne, England. Progeny of individual plants from the two host populations were tested for their response to up to 10 different isolates of E. fischeri, five from each location; each isolate had a different specific virulence phenotype. Most plants in each sample were susceptible to all 10 isolates. The proportion of plants whose progeny were resistant to a particular isolate ranged from 1% to 10% with the exception of resistance to one isolate that occurred with a frequency of 37% at Wellesbourne. Overall, resistance to one or more of the 10 isolates appeared to be more common in the plant population sampled at Wellesbourne than at Glasgow. Of the total number of groundsel line/isolate combinations tested, 10% involving Wellesbourne plants and 2% involving Glasgow plants were incompatible, i.e. resistant/avirulent. Both groundsel populations tended to be dominated by one or two resistance phenotypes but they were nevertheless highly heterogeneous when less frequent resistance phenotypes were considered. This was particularly evident at Wellesbourne where 10 different resistance phenotypes were recorded amongst a total of 75 plants growing within an area of 1 m2.