The genetic diversity of 45 bradyrhizobial isolates that nodulate several Lupinus and Ornithopus species in different geographic locations was investigated by 16S rDNA PCR-RFLP and sequence analysis, 16S-23S rDNA intergenic spacer (IGS) PCR-RFLP analysis, and ERIC-PCR genomic fingerprinting. Reference strains of Bradyrhizobium japonicum, B. liaoningense and B. elkanii and some Canarian isolates from endemic woody legumes in the tribe Genisteae were also included. The 16S rDNA-RFLP analysis resolved 9 genotypes of lupin isolates, a group of fourteen isolates presented restriction-genotypes identical or very similar to B. japonicum, while another two main groups of isolates (69%) presented genotypes that clearly separated them from the reference species of soybean. 16S rDNA sequencing of representative strains largely agreed with restriction analysis, except for a group of six isolates, and showed that all the lupin isolates are relatives of B. japonicum, but different lineages were observed. The 16S-23S IGS-RFLP analysis showed a high resolution level, resolving 19 distinct genotypes among 30 strains analysed, and so demonstrating the heterogeneity of the 16S-RFLP groups. ERIC-PCR fingerprint analysis showed an enormous genetic diversity producing a different pattern for each but two of the isolates. Phylogeny of nodC gene was independent from the 16S rRNA phylogeny, and showed a tight relationship in the symbiotic region of the lupin isolates with isolates from Canarian genistoid woody legumes, and in concordance, cross-nodulation was found. We conclude that Lupinus is a promiscuous host legume that is nodulated by rhizobia with very different chromosomal genotypes, which could even belong to several species of Bradyrhizobium. No correlation among genomic background, original host plant and geographic location was found, so, different chromosomal genotypes could be detected at a single site and in a same plant species, on the contrary, an identical genotype was detected in very different geographical locations and plants.