The family Parmeliaceae (Lecanorales, Ascomycota) is possibly the largest, best known and most thoroughly studied lichen family within its order. Despite this fact the relationship between Parmeliaceae and other groups in Lecanorales is still poorly known. The aim of the present study is to contribute to finding the sister group of Parmeliaceae as an aid in future studies on the phylogeny and character evolution of the group. We do this by sampling all potential relatives to the Parmeliaceae that we have identified, i.e. Cypsoplaca, Japewia, Mycoblastus, Protoparmelia, and Tephromela, a good representation of the major groups within the Parmeliaceae s. lat. and a good representation of other taxa in the core Lecanorales. We use molecular data from two genes, the large subunit of the nuclear ribosomal RNA gene (nrLSU) and the small subunit of the mitochondrial ribosomal RNA gene (mrSSU), and a Bayesian analysis of the combined data. The results show that the closest relatives to Parmeliaceae are the two genera Protoparmelia and Gypsoplaca, which are crustose lichens. Parmeliaceae in our sense is a well supported group, including also the family segregates Alectoriaceae, Hypogymniaceae, Usneaceae and Anziaceae.