Genetic relationships of the complex of Fusarium species associated with crown rot and head blight in cereals and some species associated with plant diseases in general were examined by distance and maximum parsimony algorithms of their internal transcribed spacer sequences. The analysis clustered the complex of Fusarium species that causes root and crown rot and head blight of cereals and three other clusters of F. sambucinum, F. venenatum and F. poae into one clade. This group of Fusarium species was also found in this study to correspond to the group defined by the presence of the tri5 gene. The tri5 gene was recently reported to co-segregate with the locus governing the type of trichothecene produced, and probably maps in the trichothecene gene cluster. The other clusters of F. avenaceum, F. tricinctum, F. torulosum, F. oxysporum, F. verticillioides and F. solani did not have the tri5 gene. Although, F. pseudograminearum was phylogenetically close with the cluster of F. graminearum, F. culmorum and F. cerealis, it could be distinctly separated from them. The distinct genetic status of F. pseudograminearum from F. graminearum corroborated with other published molecular data and isozyme findings. The molecular analysis provided a simple diagnostic tool to differentiate fungi causing crown rot from those involved in head blight.