Three strains of budding, ellipsoid-shaped and rosette-forming bacteria were isolated from acidic Sphagnum-dominated boreal wetlands of northern Russia and were designated strains MPL7T, MOB77 and SB2. The presence of crateriform pits and numerous fibrillar appendages on the cell surface and an unusual spur-like projection on one pole of the cell indicated a planctomycete morphotype. These isolates are moderately acidophilic, mesophilic organisms capable of growth at pH values between 4.2 and 7.5 (with an optimum at pH 5.0–6.2) and at temperatures between 4 and 32 °C (optimum 15–26 °C). The major fatty acids are C16 : 0 and C16 : 17c; the major quinone is MK-6. The G+C content of the DNA is 54.4–56.5 mol%. Strains MPL7T, MOB77 and SB2 possess nearly identical 16S rRNA gene sequences and belong to the planctomycete lineage defined by the genus Planctomyces, being most closely related to Planctomyces limnophilus DSM 3776T (86.9–87.1 % sequence similarity). However, strain MPL7T showed only 28 % DNA–DNA hybridization with P. limnophilus DSM 3776T. Compared with currently described members of the genus Planctomyces, the isolates from northern wetlands do not form long and distinctive stalks, have greater tolerance of acidic conditions and low temperatures, are more sensitive to NaCl, lack pigmentation and degrade a wider range of biopolymers. The data therefore suggest that strains MPL7T, MOB77 and SB2 represent a novel genus and species, for which the name Schlesneria paludicola gen. nov., sp. nov., is proposed. Strain MPL7T (=ATCC BAA-1393T =VKM B-2452T) is the type strain of Schlesneria paludicola.