Recent investigations of DNA sequence data for representatives of Theaceae (sensu stricto = Theoideae of Cronquist) identified several paraphyletic or polyphyletic genera yet significant questions remained due to taxon sampling issues and to the low level of sequence divergence of the previously sampled DNA regions (rbcL and matK plus partial flanking spacers). New data using nuclear (ITS and rpb2 intron 23) and chloroplast intergenic spacer (trnL to trnF) regions are providing increased resolution and higher statistical support for many nodes. Despite differences in taxon sampling, the overall topologies from separate analyses of each of the five data sets are congruent and identify three major clades: Stewartia + Hartia, Gordonia (sensu lato, pro parte) + Franklinia + Schima, and close Camellia relatives [Camellia, Polyspora, Laplacea (sensu stricto, pro parte), Tutcheria, etc.]. Camellia relatives comprise approximately 75% of the genera (sensu stricto) and 80% of the species in this family. The trnL to trnF intergenic spacer provides almost the same resolution as either of the previous chloroplast data sets in roughly one quarter to one fifth the number of bases sequenced. The smaller fragment is much easier to amplify from herbarium DNA samples allowing several critical taxa to be added to the study. ITS sequence data is being used to investigate relationships in the Hartia + Stewartia clade. It provides moderate bootstrap support for the monophyly of both Hartia and Stewartia. The rpb2 intron data set is being used to address relationships in the Camellia relatives clade. It provides moderate bootstrap support for the monophyly of each of the Camellia relatives thus far sampled (Camellia, Laplacea, and Polyspora), however this remains the largest and least resolved clade of Theaceae.

Key words: ITS, rpb2 intron 23, systematics, Theaceae, trnL-trnF intergenic spacer