A polymorphic noncoding region of chloroplast DNA (cpDNA) was successfully amplified by the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) from various oak wood samples, including recent and more ancient (about 600-years-old) samples from different oak species. Adaptation of DNA isolation and amplification protocols was necessary to obtain this result. Polymorphisms useful to distinguish species or geographical origin of these samples could be scored through sequencing. These polymorphisms include one substitution and two microsatellite-type polymorphisms, due to a variable number of A/T repeats. Identical results were obtained independently in two separate laboratories.