We have presented systematic cross-plane thermal conductivity (λ) data for the undoped strain-symmetrized Si/Ge superlattices grown on Si(111) with superlattice (SL) period thickness varying from 3.6 to 16 nm. In thin SL period (L ⩽ 7 nm) samples, the data have shown considerable reductions of λ, by more than 50% and 30% compared to the SiGe alloy and to the earlier reported values in (100)-oriented Si/Ge superlattice structures (SLS), respectively. For the thick SL period samples (L>10 nm), λ has shown a tendency to saturate at the SiGe alloy value. This is understood as, with increasing L, the SLS breaks and the SiGe alloying starts to grow. This structural behavior is clearly observed in the cross-plane transmission electron microscope images as well. In addition to these, for the thin SL period (L ⩽ 7 nm) samples, the data have shown a shallow minimum which is attributed to the competing behavior of the wave nature and the classical particle nature of the localized phonons. Nevertheless, the present study of thermal conductivity on undoped strain-symmetrized Si/Ge SLs in (111) orientation suggests that an enhancement of thermoelectric figure-of-merit Z is possible. © 2003 American Institute of Physics.