The possible alliance between Gaertnera and Pagamea (Rubiaceae-Rubioideae), two genera from the Old and New World, respectively, is investigated on the basis of wood anatomy and pollen morphology. Nowadays, the main point of discussion about the taxonomic position of these genera is whether they belong to the Psychotrieae or constitute a tribe Gaertnereae characterised by their secondarily superior ovary and sheathing stipules. Both the wood and pollen of the genus pair are found to show specific features absent in other genera of the Psychotrieae, e.g. parenchyma bands in the xylem and endexine thickenings on the polar sites of the pollen apertures, Nevertheless Gaertnera and Pagamea share many other characters with the Psychotrieae. Wood and pollen convincingly demonstrate the very close affinity of the two genera. The sister pair differs in so many features from other Psychotrieae, that Gaertnera and Pagamea should constitute at least a subtribe Gaertnerinae, formally recognized here. The general lack of profound studies on the affinities within the very large tribe Psychotrieae makes further comments on the taxonomic relationships of the Gaertnerinae difficult.