Seed and seedling traits related to germination and stand establishment are important in the production of cultivated lettuce (Lactuca sativa L.). Six seed and seedling traits segregating in a L. sativa cv. Salinas x L. serriola recombinant inbred line population consisting of 103 F8 families revealed a total of 17 significant quantitative trait loci (QTL) resulting from three seed production environments. Significant QTL were identified for germination in darkness, germination at 25 and 35 degrees C, median maximum temperature of germination, hypocotyl length at 72 h post-imbibition, and plant (seedling) quality. Some QTL for germination and early seedling growth characteristics were co-located, suggestive of pleiotropic loci regulating these traits. A single QTL (Htg6.1) described 25 and 23% of the total phenotypic variation for high temperature germination in California- and Netherlands-grown populations, respectively, and was significant between 33 and 37 degrees C. Additionally, Htg6.1 showed significant epistatic interactions with other Htg QTL and a consistent effect across all the three seed production environments. L. serriola alleles increased germination at these QTL. The estimate of narrow-sense heritability (h2) of Htg6.1 was 0.84, indicating potential for L. serriola as a source of germination thermotolerance for lettuce introgression programs.