During a survey, three populations of a new stem nematode were isolated from galls on the shoots of tumble thistle (Gundelia tournefortii) plants in Fars province, Iran, and identified. Ditylenchus paraoncogenus n. sp. is described based on morphometric and morphological characters. It is characterised by having long-sized females, 1252 (943-1628) μm long, narrow lateral fields with six incisures, rather developed stylet 9.9 (9.0-11.3) μm long with round knobs, usually elongate and offset from intestine basal pharyngeal bulb, oocytes in two rows in distal part of ovary, V = 83.3 (80.3-86.2), post-vulval uterine sac 68.1 (46.9-86.1)% of vulva to anus distance long, bursa covering 63.2 (33.3-74.4)% of tail length, spicules 24.7 (21.0-27.9) μm long with minute processes at the base of its manubrium and anteriorly pointed cuticle parts within the lamina, and thick conical tail, usually with a pointed terminus. In addition, the ITS and 18S rDNA sequences of 17 populations of D. destructor, D. dipsaci, D. medicaginis, D. myceliophagus, D. paraoncogenus n. sp., Ditylenchus sp. and Nothotylenchus geraerti plus one population of Anguinidae sp. were analysed. The results showed a close relationship between D. paraoncogenus n. sp. and the stem nematodes D. oncogenus, D. gigas, D. weischeri and D. dipsaci. Ditylenchus species were divided into two clades, one clade comprising stem nematodes and gall-forming nematodes of the family Anguinidae, and the other clade containing fungivorous species. Observations showed that the second-stage juvenile is the dormant stage of D. paraoncogenus n. sp. and can survive in anhydrobiotic condition for at least 4 years.