Aethionema rhodopaeum D. Pavlova is described as a new species from the eastern Rhodope Mountains. The plant was found growing only on serpentines, in two localities, at an altitude of approximately 400 m. The localities are typical open habitats with sparsely colonized debris. The plant communities, composed mainly of xerophytes with a mosaic distribution, contain a large number of rare and endemic species for the Bulgarian flora. The new species belongs to the Aethionema saxatile group and is quite close to the species A. saxatile (L.) R. Br., in particular to ssp. creticum and ssp. graecum. The following diagnostic features are given for the new species: inner filament length always greater than half the petal length, lack of teeth of the filaments, longer [2–3(3.5) mm] style than that of A. saxatile subspecies, and dark purple petals. All leaves are broadly elliptical to suborbicular, obtuse, and fleshy. The chromosome number of the new species is 2n = 24. The differences between the new species and related taxa are also discussed. © 2007 The Linnean Society of London, Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society, 2007, 155, 533–540.