Polytypism in gümbelite and its relationship to the fibrous or ribbon-like morphology exhibited by this Mg-rich illite were investigated by powder X-ray diffraction (XRD), electron back-scattered diffraction (EBSD) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM). Comparison between the XRD pattern from oriented fibers using a conventional powder diffractometer and a randomly oriented pattern using a Gandolfi camera suggested that 2M2 is dominant but other polytypes belonging to subfamily A also exist, and that the fiber axis of gümbelite is parallel to <110> in 2M2, <110> in 2M1, and <100> in 1M. The EBSD analyses confirmed these crystallographic directions directly from individual crystals. Electron diffraction and high-resolution TEM showed that twinning and intergrowths of various polytypes including both subfamilies are common in a single crystal and that the two types of rotations [2n60° and (2n+1)60°] between adjacent layers are often randomly mixed at the monolayer level. The data suggest that high densities of twinning and intergrowths account for the origin of the fibrous morphology along <110> for 2M1 and 2M2 polytypes. Volume restriction in a confined vein space may also play a role.