Sixty-two isolates of Rhizoctonia spp. were collected from Belgian cauliflower fields during 2005 and 2006. The majority of the isolates (60 out of 62) had multinucleate cells and were identified as Rhizoctonia solani. Characterization of anastomosis groups (AGs) was performed using pectic zymograms, PCR-RFLP and sequencing of the rDNA-ITS region. The most prevalent AG was AG 2-1 (55% of isolates), followed by AG 2-1 subset Nt (11, AG 1-1C (8, AG 5 (8, AG 4 HGII (6, AG 3 (5 and AG 1-1B (3. Pathogenic potential towards different vegetable crops and towards maize was determined. Damage to cauliflower and endive was caused by different AGs, with the isolates aggressive towards cauliflower belonging to AG 2-1, AG 2-1 subset Nt, AG 4 HGII, AG 1-1C, AG 1-1B and AG 2-2, and those aggressive towards endive belonging to AG 1-1B, AG 1-1C, AG 2-1 subset Nt, AG 2-2, AG 4 HGII and AG 5. The most aggressive isolates towards bean belonged to AG 2-1 subset Nt and AG 2-2, for lettuce to AG 1-1B and AG 2-1, on carrot to AG 4 HGII and towards maize to AG 2-2. Within the isolates of AG 2-1, variability was observed in PCR-RFLP pattern and in aggressiveness towards several crops, indicating this subgroup to be heterogeneous. This is the first study concerning the occurrence of R. solani AGs causing wirestem in Belgian cauliflower fields and the first report of aggressive isolates of AG 1-1C, AG 2-1 subset Nt and AG 4 HGII associated with cauliflower.