Self–incompatibility (SI) involves the recognition and rejection of self or genetically identical pollen. Gametophytic SI is probably the most widespread of the SI systems and, so far, two completely different SI mechanisms, which appear to have evolved separately, have been identified. One mechanism is the RNase system, which is found in the Solanaceae, Rosaceae and Scrophulariaceae. The other is a complex system, so far found only in the Papaveraceae, which involves the triggering of signal transduction cascade(s) that result in rapid pollen tube inhibition and cell death. Here, we present an overview of what is currently known about the mechanisms involved in controlling pollen tube inhibition in these two systems.