Among the recognised species groups of Heterodera, the Avenae group is one of the largest with a total of 12 species. Ten of them, H. arenaria, H. aucklandica, H. australis, H. avenae, H. filipjevi, H. mani, H. pratensis, H. riparia, H. sturhani and H. ustinovi, are morphologically closely related and represent the H. avenae species complex, and the other two, H. hordecalis and H. latipons, are morphologically more distinct from this complex. In this study we provide comprehensive phylogenetic analyses of several hundred COI and ITS rRNA gene sequences from the Avenae group using Bayesian inference, maximum likelihood and statistical parsimony. Some 220 COI and 11 ITS rRNA new gene sequences from 147 nematode populations collected in 26 countries were obtained in this study. Our study showed that the COI gene is a powerful DNA barcoding marker for identification of populations and species from the Avenae group. A putatively new cyst nematode species related to H. latipons was revealed from the analysis of COI and ITS rRNA gene datasets. COI gene sequences allow distinguishing H. arenaria, H. australis and H. sturhani from each other and other species. Problems of species delimiting of these species are discussed. The results of the analysis showed that COI haplotypes corresponded to certain pathotypes of the cereal cyst nematodes. It is recommended that information on COI haplotypes of studied populations be included in research with these nematodes. Based on the results of phylogeographical analysis and age estimation of clades with a molecular clock approach, it was hypothesised that several species of the Avenae group primarily originated and diversified in the Irano-Anatolian hotspot during the Pleistocene and Holocene periods and then dispersed from this region across the world. Different geographic barriers, centres and times of origin might explain current known distribution patterns for species of the Avenae group. Possible pathways, including a long distance trans-Atlantic dispersal, and secondary centres of diversification are proposed and discussed.