Thirty-six new sequences including members of all New Zealand genera of Asteraceae and 60 published sequences representing the tribal diversity in the family were analyzed to assess the utility of ITS sequences to resolve phylogenetic relationships. Sequence divergence and length variation make the alignment challenging, nevertheless the utility of ITS sequences to resolve relationships within and among tribes of Asteraceae has been demonstrated in several recent publications. The ITS sequences comprised conservative regions at the 3 end of the 18S gene, the entire 5.8S gene, and the 5 end of the 26S gene along with the intervening internal transcribed spacers. The ITS region varied between 648 and 717 bp with a mean of 707 bp. Most insertions or deletions were only 1-3 bp with one large deletion of 58 bp identified in the ITS-1 spacer of Brachyscome. Independent analyses of the ITS spacer regions were largely congruent. The presence or absence of indels gave little resolution and exhibited high levels of homoplasy. Previous studies using chloroplast DNA sequences and morphology provided support for several clades, yet the relationships among some of these clades were uncertain. The combined analysis of the entire ITS region yielded results that were largely consistent with these earlier studies. The New Zealand species are included in at least six clades corresponding to recognized tribes. Our results have also clarified the tribal affinities of a few genera. Haastia, previously aligned with the Gnaphalieae or the Astereae, is nested in the Senecioneae. Centipeda, previously included in the Astereae or Anthemideae, emerges near the Inuleae. Abrotanella emerges near the base of the Senecioneae confirming previous findings.

Key words: Asteraceae, ITS sequences, New Zealand, phylogeny