The majority of cultivated cranberry varieties were selected from native populations in the 1800s and early 1900s from sites in Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Wisconsin. Since their initial selections 100–150 years ago, varietal identities have become increasingly confused; primarily the result of there being a paucity of qualitative markers to effectively distinguish among varieties. Random amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) technology has the potential for allowing a more definitive classification of varieties and was used in this study to characterize 22 cranberry varieties. Twenty-two decamer primers amplified 162 scorable DNA fragments, of which 66 (41%) were polymorphic. On the basis of these 66 silver-stained RAPDs (ssRAPDs), 17 unique profiles were identified rather than the expected 22. Fourteen varieties had unique ssRAPD profiles, while the remaining 8 were represented by 3 ssRAPD profiles. Permuational analyses of the data suggest that the observed ssRAPD profile duplications are examples of varietal misclassification. Further analyses identified 2 ssRAPD markers that were found only in Eastern varieties (from Mass. and N. J.) and not in Wisconsin varieties. With varieties differing on average by 22 bands, ssRAPDs are shown to be effective in varietal identification and the assessment of genetic diversity in cranberry.