Three pathogenic variants (i.e. pathotypes) have been described within Xanthomonas citri pv. citri, the causal agent of Asiatic citrus canker. Pathotype A strains naturally infect a wide range of Citrus species and members of some related genera. In contrast, pathotypes A* and Aw have narrow host ranges within the genus Citrus and have been isolated from Mexican lime (Citrus aurantifolia L.) and from Mexican lime and alemow (Citrus macrophylla L.), respectively. We used amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) and multilocus sequence analysis (MLSA) based on four partial housekeeping gene sequences (atpD, dnaK, efp and gyrB) for the genotypic classification of Xanthomonas citri pv. citri and the poorly characterized citrus pathogen Xanthomonas campestris pv. bilvae. A Mantel test showed that genetic distances derived from AFLP and MLSA were highly correlated. X. campestris pv. bilvae showed a close relatedness to the type strain of X. citri, indicating that this pathovar should be reclassified as X. citri pv. bilvae. All pathotype A* and Aw strains were most closely related to X. citri pv. citri strains with a wide host range (pathotype A), confirming previous DNA–DNA hybridization data. Pathotype Aw should be considered a junior synonym of pathotype A* on the basis of pathogenicity tests, AFLP, MLSA and PCR using pathovar-specific primers. Evolutionary genome divergences computed from AFLP data suggested that pathotype A* (including Aw strains) is a group of strains that shows a wider genetic diversity than pathotype A.