The taxonomic status of 64 strains of whorl-forming Streptomyces (formerly Streptoverticillium) species was re-evaluated and strains were reclassified on the basis of their phenotypes, DNA-DNA hybridization data and partial sequences of gyrB, the structural gene of the B subunit of DNA gyrase. These strains, which consisted of 46 species and eight subspecies with validly published names and 13 species whose names have not been validly published [including 10 strains examined by the International Streptomyces Project (ISP)], were divided into two groups, namely typical and atypical whorl-forming Streptomyces species, based on their phenotypes and gyrB gene sequences. The typical whorl-forming species (59 strains) were divided into six major clusters of three or more species, seven minor clusters of two species and five single-member clusters, based on the threshold value of 97 % gyrB sequence similarity. Major clusters were typified by Streptomyces abikoensis, Streptomyces cinnamoneus, Streptomyces distallicus, Streptomyces griseocarneus, Streptomyces hiroshimensis and Streptomyces netropsis. Phenotypically, members of each cluster resembled each other closely except for the S. distallicus cluster, which was divided phenotypically into the S. distallicus and Streptomyces stramineus subclusters, and the S. netropsis cluster, which was divided into the S. netropsis and Streptomyces eurocidicus subclusters. Strains in each minor cluster closely resembled each other phenotypically. DNA-DNA relatedness between the representative species and others in each major cluster and/or subcluster, and between strains in the minor clusters, was >70 %, indicating that the major clusters and/or subclusters and the minor clusters each comprise a single species. It was concluded that 59 strains of typical whorl-forming Streptomyces species consisted of the following 18 species, including subjective synonym(s): S. abikoensis, Streptomyces ardus, Streptomyces blastmyceticus, S. cinnamoneus, S. eurocidicus, S. griseocarneus, S. hiroshimensis, Streptomyces lilacinus, 'Streptomyces luteoreticuli', Streptomyces luteosporeus, Streptomyces mashuensis, Streptomyces mobaraensis, Streptomyces morookaense, S. netropsis, Streptomyces orinoci, S. stramineus, Streptomyces thioluteus and Streptomyces viridiflavus.