A Gram-positive staining, aerobic, endospore-forming bacterial strain, isolated from the rhizosphere of Zea mays was studied for its detailed taxonomic allocation. Based on 16S rRNA gene sequence similarity comparisons, strain JJ-64T was shown to be a member of the genus Paenibacillus, most closely related to the type strains of Paenibacillus silagei (99%) and Paenibacillus borealis (97.5%). The 16S rRNA gene sequence similarity to all other Paenibacillus species was ≤ 97.5%. DNA-DNA hybridization values to the type strains of P. silagei and P. borealis were 51% (reciprocal 25%) and 31% (reciprocal 37%), respectively. The presence of meso-diaminopimelic acid as the diagnostic diamino acid of the peptidoglycan, the major quinone MK-7 and the polyamine pattern with spermidine as the major component was well in line with the characteristics of the genus Paenibacillus. Furthermore, the polar lipid profile of strain JJ-64T with the predominant lipids diphosphatidylglycerol, phosphatidylglycerol, phosphatidylethanolamine, phosphatidylserine and two unidentified aminophospholipids reflected well the close phylogenetic relatedness to P. silagei. Major fatty acids were iso- and anteiso-branched. Physiological and biochemical characteristics allowed a further phenotypic differentiation of strain JJ-64T from the most closely related species. Thus, JJ-64T represents a novel species of the genus Paenibacillus, for which the name Paenibacillus rhizoplanae sp. nov. is proposed, with JJ-64T (= LMG 29875T = CCM 8725T) as the type strain.