Summary Polyamine profiles of 91 pectolytic and other plant-associated strains from 30 taxa of the Enterobacteriaceae were obtained by gradient high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). Pectobacterium carotovorum, basonym Erwinia carotovora, contained a high amount of putrescine and less diaminopropane. Diaminopropane was absent in Pectobacterium chrysanthemi, basonym E. chrysanthemi, whereas cadaverine was present in addition to the major compound putrescine. This chemotaxonomic difference reflects the deepest phylogenetic branching point within the recently emended genus Pectobacterium which lies between the two species P. carotovorum and P. chrysanthemi. Both important soft rot pathogens are easily distinguishable from each other and from the type species of the genus Erwinia as diaminopropane is the only major polyamine compound in E. amylovora. Chemotaxonomic heterogeneity is also emerging with respect to Dye's Amylovora group proposed in an early phytopathological concept.