When differences are observed between genotypes in their response to low temperatures at germination, it has been generally assumed these are purely genetic. Laboratory experiments were carried out to evaluate the effects of physiological age on the temperature responses of 13 rice genotypes from Bangladesh in order to clarify whether (a) differences in seed germination at low temperature represented genetic differences or differences in the physiological state of the particular seed lot used and (b) whether genotype performance at higher temperatures was indicative of performance at lower temperatures. A higher initial seed moisture content (mc) was associated with lower initial viability (Ki). The base temperature for germination differed by less than 1 °C between genotypes. Seeds remaining ungerminated at low temperatures usually germinated when transferred to 21 °C. The thermal time requirement to reach t50 (θ) differed widely between genotypes. Lower optimum temperatures for germination were associated with lower thermal time requirements. Ageing seeds for 24 hours at 24 % mc and 45 °C significantly reduced final germination on a thermal gradient table at all temperatures below 20.8 °C in genotype BR29 but only below 16.5 °C in BR11. The rates of germination (seeds d−1) of aged seeds were also lower at all temperatures. Germination of high quality seeds of four genotypes were compared at 21 °C and 11 °C both before and after ageing (at 24 % mc and 45 °C). Ageing consistently reduced the rates of germination at both 21 °C and 11 °C. Increased ageing time progressively reduced the rate of germination of all seed lots at both temperatures. The rates of germination at 11 °C and 21 °C were positively and significantly (p < 0.01) related to final germination at the lower temperature of 11 °C. These results demonstrate that seed physiological quality as well as genotype might influence the final germination and rate of germination of rice genotypes at low temperatures. This information will be useful for breeders involved in selection of lines suitable for growing in cooler seasons.