We have revisited the phylogenetic evaluation of the Physcia aipolia—P. caesia lichen group (sect. Caesiae; Physciaceae, Lecanorales) in order to investigate whether new sequence data and extensive sampling can help us to understand the phylogenetic relationships in that group. We combined partial mtSSU DNA data with two previously used nuclear gene regions (betatubulin, ITS) and a group I intron. We also compared the resulting phylogenies with chemical and morphological characters. Altogether 52 specimens of the P. aipolia—P. caesia group were analysed. Direct optimization of the molecular data revealed several well-supported groups. Our results essentially agreed with those of the earlier studies, and we were able to confirm the independent taxonomic status of some controversial morphotaxa. We also discovered at least two distinct clades that potentially represent species new to science. A new nomenclatural combination, Physcia alnophila (Vain.) Loht., Moberg, Myllys & Tehler, is proposed.
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Vol. 46 • No. 1