We analysed genetic diversity across the natural populations of three montane plant species in the Western Ghats, India; Symplocos laurina, Gaultheria fragrantissima and Eurya nitida using intersimple sequence repeat (ISSR) markers. These markers revealed genetic diversity within the populations of these plants from Nilgiri and also between two populations of S. laurina from Nilgiri and Amboli. Genetic variation within and between populations was analysed using various parameters such as total heterozygosity (HT), heterozygosity within population (HS), diversity between populations (DST), coefficient of population differentiation (GST), genetic distance (D) and gene flow (Nm). Total heterozygosity (HT) was higher for S. laurina (0.238) than for G. fragrantissima (0.172) and E. nitida (0.182). Two populations of S. laurina, separated by > 1000 km, showed a high within-population variation (53.7%) and a low gene flow (Nm = 0.447). upgma phenograms depicted a tendency of accessions to group according to their geographical locations in all the three plant species. The insight gained into the genetic structure of these plant populations might have implications in developing in situ and ex situ conservation strategies.