Numerous plant species reproduce mainly by clonal growth, implying that levels of genetic variation may be comparatively low. In this study we describe the genetic and genotypic diversity within and between four Swedish populations of the clonal shrub lingonberry, Vaccinium vitis-idaea L. Two approaches were used to assess the amount and partitioning of variation: automated image analysis of leaf shape and random amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) analysis. Morphometric analyses, using moment invariants and elliptic Fourier coefficients, revealed that most of the variation could be attributed to within-population variation. With the use of 43 polymorphic RAPD markers, we were able to identify 29 different genotypes (i.e. putative clones) among 129 plants from two populations. The genotypic diversity (D: mean 0.84) and evenness (E: mean 0.81) were higher than the average for clonal plant species. Within-population gene diversity was similar to values reported in nonclonal plants, suggesting that sexual reproduction has played a significant role in these populations despite low levels of seedling recruitment in present-day populations. An analysis of molecular variance revealed that most of the variation (89.2%) resided within populations. Comparisons between the different suites of characters indicated a congruent pattern of partitions of diversity, particularly when comparing moment invariants and RAPDs. When comparing the ability of the two descriptor suites to assign the plants to the RAPD-defined clones, elliptic Fourier coefficients yielded the best result; a classification test correctly reassigned 96.9% and 98.1% of the plant material in the two respective populations.