The resolution of the phylogenetic relationships within the order Teloschistales (Ascomycota, lichen-forming-fungi), with nearly 2000 known species and outstanding phenotypic diversity, has been hindered by the limitation in the resolving power that single-locus or two-locus phylogenetic studies have provided to date. In this context, an extensive taxon sampling within the Teloschistales with more loci (especially nuclear protein-coding genes) was needed to confront the current taxonomic delimitations and to understand evolutionary trends within this order. Comprehensive maximum likelihood and Bayesian analyses were performed based on seven loci using a cumulative supermatrix approach, including protein-coding genes RPB1 and RPB2 in addition to nuclear and mitochondrial ribosomal RNA-coding genes. We included 167 taxa representing 12 of the 15 genera recognized within the currently accepted Teloschistineae, 22 of the 43 genera within the Physciineae, 49 genera of the closely related orders Lecanorales, Lecideales, and Peltigerales, and the dubiously placed family Brigantiaeaceae and genus Sipmaniella. Although the progressive addition of taxa (cumulative supermatrix approach) with increasing amounts of missing data did not dramatically affect the loss of support and resolution, the monophyly of the Teloschistales in the current sense was inconsistent, depending on the loci-taxa combination analyzed. Therefore, we propose a new, but provisional, classification for the re-circumscribed orders Caliciales and Teloschistales (previously referred to as Physciineae and Teloschistineae, respectively). We report here that the family Brigantiaeaceae, previously regarded as incertae sedis within the subclass Lecanoromycetidae, and Sipmaniella, are members of the Teloschistales in a strict sense. Within this order, one lineage led to the diversification of the mostly epiphytic crustose Brigantiaeaceae and Letrouitiaceae, with a circumpacific center of diversity and found mostly in the tropics. The other main lineage led to another epiphytic crustose family, mostly tropical, and with an Australasian center of diversity the Megalosporaceae - which is sister to the mainly rock-inhabiting, cosmopolitan, and species rich Teloschistaceae, with a diversity of growth habits ranging from crustose to fruticose. Our results confirm the use of a cumulative supermatrix approach as a viable method to generate comprehensive phylogenies summarizing relationships of taxa with multi-locus to single locus data. (C) 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.