Chrysosplenium (Saxifragaceae) consists of 57 species widely distributed in temperate and arctic regions of the Northern Hemisphere, with two species restricted to the southern part of South America. Species relationships within the genus are highly problematic. The genus has traditionally been divided into two groups, sometimes recognized as sections (Oppositifolia and Alternifolia), based on leaf arrangement, or, alternatively, into 17 series. Based on morphological features, Hara suggested that the genus originated in South America and then subsequently migrated to the Northern Hemisphere. We conducted phylogenetic analyses of DNA sequences of the chloroplast gene matK for species of Chrysosplenium to elucidate relationships, test Hara's biogeographic hypothesis for the genus, and examine chromosomal and gynoecial diversification. These analyses revealed that both sections Oppositifolia and Alternifolia are monophyletic and form two large sister clades. Hence, leaf arrangement is a good indicator of relationships within this genus. Hara's series Pilosa and Macrostemon are each also monophyletic; however, series Oppositifolia, Alternifolia, and Nepalensia are clearly not monophyletic. MacClade reconstructions suggest that the genus arose in Eastern Asia, rather than in South America, with several independent migration events from Asia to the New World. In one well-defined subclade, species from eastern and western North America form a discrete clade, with Old World species as their sister group, suggesting that the eastern and western North American taxa diverged following migration to that continent. The South American species forms a clade with species from eastern Asia; this disjunction may be the result of ancient long-distance dispersal. Character mapping demonstrated that gynoecial diversification is dynamic, with reversals from inferior to half-inferior ovaries, as well as to ovaries that appear superior. Chromosomal evolution also appears to be labile with several independent origins of n = 12 (from an original number of n = 11) and multiple episodes of aneuploidy.