Twenty-one exopolysaccharide-producing strains were isolated from the 5-20 microns fraction of a vertisol in the south-east of the island of Martinique in the French West Indies. Although these strains were phenotypically identified as Burkholderia cepacia or as Burkholderia glathei using BIOLOG microplates, they did not cluster genotypically by amplified rDNA restriction analysis (ARDRA) with any described Burkholderia species. A phylogenetic analysis revealed that the rrs (16S rDNA) sequences of three representative strains clustered in a single branch within the genus Burkholderia and distantly from all of the previously described species of Burkholderia for which rrs sequences were available. DNA-DNA hybridization data as well as phenotypic analyses indicated that the 21 isolates represented a single and new species for which the name Burkholderia caribensis sp. nov. is proposed (type strain MWAP64T = LMG 18531T).