Sclerotinia species are sexually reproducing ascomycetes. In the past S. minor and S. sclerotiorum, have been assumed to be homothallic because of the self-fertility of colonies derived from single ascospores. S. trifoliorum has previously been shown to be bipolar heterothallic due to the presence of four self-fertile and four self-sterile ascospores within a single ascus [Uhm, J.Y., Fujii, H., 1983a. Ascospore dimorphism in Sclerotinia trifoliorum and cultural characters of strains from different-sized spores. Phytopathology 73: 565-569]. However, isolates of S. minor and S. sclerotiorum were proven to be homothallic ascomycetes, by self-fertility of all eight ascospores within an ascus. Apothecia were raised from all eight ascospores of a single tetrad from four isolates of S. minor and from an isolate of S. sclerotiorum, indicating that inbreeding may be the predominant breeding mechanism of S. minor. Ascospores from asci of S. minor and S. sclerotiorum were predominantly monomorphic, but rare examples of ascospore dimorphism similar to S. trifoliorum were found. (c) 2006 The British Mycological Society. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.