The Dicranaceae, a large and variable moss family, contains around 1000 species and 55 genera that are divided into several weakly demarcated subfamilies. The large subfamily Dicranoideae is generally characterized by: a narrow costa; well developed alar cells; differentiated perichaetial leaves; a short capsule neck; phaneroporic stomata; and variously bifid or undivided papillose peristome teeth. A preliminary cladistic analysis of 51 taxa using 35 morphological characters indicates that there are two main groups in the subfamily. One centered around Holomitrium (including Eucamptodontopsis and Schliephackea) and one around Dicranum-Leucoloma. This analysis has highlighted some of the problems associated with character evaluation in a group where characters are variable both between and within genera.

Key words: cladistic analysis, Dicranaceae, morphology, Moss