In this work, the surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) spectra of seven genomic DNAs from leaves of chrysanthemum (Dendranthema grandiflora Ramat.), common sundew (Drosera rotundifolia L.), edelweiss (Leontopodium alpinum Cass), Epilobium hirsutum L., Hypericum richeri ssp. transsilvanicum (Čelak) Ciocârlan, rose (Rosa x hybrida L.) and redwood (Sequoia sempervirens D. Don. Endl.), respectively, have been analyzed in the wavenumber range 200–1800 cm−1. The surface-enhanced Raman vibrational modes for each of these cases, spectroscopic band assignments and structural interpretations of genomic DNAs are reported. A high molecular structural information content can be found in the SERS spectra of these DNAs from leaf tissues. Based on this work, specific plant DNA–ligand interactions or accurate local structure of DNA might be further investigated using surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy. Besides, this study will generate information which is valuable in the development of label-free DNA detection for chemical probing in living cell. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.