Fourteen genera belong to a monophyletic core of cetrarioid lichens, Ahtiana, Allocetraria, Arctocetraria, Cetraria, Cetrariella, Cetreliopsis, Flavocetraria, Kaernefeltia, Masonhalea, Nephromopsis, Tuckermanella, Tuckermannopsis, Usnocetraria and Vulpicida. A total of 71 samples representing 65 species (of 90 worldwide) and all type species of the genera are included in phylogentic analyses based on a complete ITS matrix and incomplete sets of group I intron, β-tubulin, GAPDH and mtSSU sequences. Eleven of the species included in the study are analysed phylogenetically for the first time, and of the 178 sequences, 67 are newly constructed. Two phylogenetic trees, one based solely on the complete ITS-matrix and a second based on total information, are similar, but not entirely identical. About half of the species are gathered in a strongly supported clade composed of the genera Allocetraria, Cetraria s. str., Cetrariella and Vulpicida. Arctocetraria, Cetreliopsis, Kaernefeltia and Tuckermanella are monophyletic genera, whereas Cetraria, Flavocetraria and Tuckermannopsis are polyphyletic. The taxonomy in current use is compared with the phylogenetic results, and future, probable or potential adjustments to the phylogeny are discussed. The single non-DNA character with a strong correlation to phylogeny based on DNA-sequences is conidial shape. The secondary chemistry of the poorly known species Cetraria annae is analyzed for the first time; the cortex contains usnic acid and atranorin, whereas isonephrosterinic, nephrosterinic, lichesterinic, protolichesterinic and squamatic acids occur in the medulla. Notes on the anatomy of Cetraria annae and Flavocetraria minuscula are also provided.