Centromeric repetitive sequences were isolated from Arabidopsis halleri ssp. gemmifera and A. lyrata ssp. kawasakiana. Two novel repeat families isolated from A. gemmifera were designated pAge1 and pAge2. These repeats are 180 bp in length and are organized in a head-to-tail manner. They are similar to the pAL1 repeats of A. thaliana and the pAa units of A. arenosa. Both A. gemmifera and A. kawasakiana possess the pAa, pAge1 and pAge2 repeat families. Sequence comparisons of different centromeric repeats revealed that these families share a highly conserved region of approximately 50 bp. Within each of the four repeat families, two or three regions showed low levels of sequence variation. The average difference in nucleotide sequence was approximately 10% within families and 30% between families, which resulted in clear distinctions between families upon phylogenetic analysis. FISH analysis revealed that the localization patterns for the pAa, pAge1 and pAge2 families were chromosome specific in A. gemmifera and A. kawasakiana. In one pair of chromosomes in A. gemmifera, and three pairs of chromosomes in A. kawasakiana, two repeat families were present. The presence of three families of centromeric repeats in A. gemmifera and A. kawasakiana indicates that the first step toward homogenization of centromeric repeats occurred at the chromosome level.