In addition to the cerebral cortex, the striatum receives excitatory input from the thalamus. The centromedian (centre median, CM) and parafascicular (Pf) nuclei are an important source of thalamostriatal projections. Anterograde tract-tracing indicates the CM-Pf complex provides dense afferents to the matrix compartment of the striatum. Whereas CM projects to the entire sensorimotor territory of the striatum, the Pf provides complementary input to the entire associative sector. The Pf also provides lighter input to the nucleus accumbens. Both CM and Pf provide light to moderately dense inputs to other components of the basal ganglia in a largely complementary manner, covering motor or associative-limbic territories of the subthalamic nucleus, globus pallidus and ventral midbrain. In turn, the CM and Pf receive mainly segregated input from parallel motor and associative-limbic circuits of the basal ganglia. The CM and Pf may therefore be considered important participants in parallel processing of motor and associative-limbic information in the basal ganglia. Connections of the CM and Pf with other thalamic nuclei suggest they also participate in integrative functions within the thalamus. In addition, inputs from the brainstem reticular core, reciprocal connections with the cerebral cortex and reticular thalamic nucleus suggest a role in state-dependant information processing. Consideration of the differential connections of the CM and Pf, and better understanding of their role in pathophysiology, may eventually lead to development of an important new target for relief of a variety of neurological and psychiatric disorders.