The phylogeography of typical alpine plant species is well understood in Europe. However, the genetic patterns of boreo-montane species are mostly unstudied. Therefore, we analysed the AFLPs of 198 individuals of Polygonatum verticillatum over a major part of its European distribution. We obtained a total of 402 reproducible fragments, of which 96.8% were polymorphic. The average ΦST over all samples was high (73.0%). The highest number of private fragments was observed in the Cantabrian Mountains; the highest genetic diversities of the populations were detected in populations from the Alps. BAPS, Principal Coordinates and Cluster analyses revealed a deep split between the Cantabrian population and all other samples. The latter further distinguished two major groups in western and eastern Europe. These results suggest a complex biogeographical history of P. verticillatum. The Cantabrian population was most probably isolated for the longest time. Furthermore, putative glacial survival centres might have existed in the western group around the glaciated Alps and in the eastern group in the foothills of the Carpathian and Balkan mountain systems. The origin of the Scandinavian populations is still unresolved, but an origin from the southeastern Alps or the western Balkans appears the most likely scenario.