In this investigation, we have collected family-structured data from a partly self-compatible, outcrossing population of Brassica cretica to estimate and compare the effects of one-generation selfing on different types of characters. Inbreeding not only depressed characters that should be positively correlated with fitness irrespective of habitat, e.g. germinability, leaf number and inflorescence size, but also resulted in later flowering, smaller and more asymmetric flowers, and an increased production of basal branches. Population-level estimates of inbreeding depression were similar in magnitude to estimates reported in other wild plant species. There was a tendency for direct components of fitness to exhibit a stronger response to inbreeding than other characters, but only when the differences between selfed and outbred offspring were measured in standard deviation units. Family-level estimates of inbreeding depression were weakly correlated across characters. Given these and other observations, we hypothesize that the genetic basis of inbreeding depression varies across the life cycle and that changes in local inbreeding will lead to shifts in the mean phenotypes of B. cretica populations. However, judging from data on current levels of population divergence, quite large changes in inbreeding will be required to influence large-scale patterns of variation in this species. (C) 2002 The Linnean Society of London.