Laccate polypores of the Ganoderma lucidum species complex are widespread white rot fungi of economic importance, but isolates cannot be identified by traditional taxonomic methods. Parsimony analysis of nucleotide sequences from the internal transcribed spacers (ITS) of the ribosomal gene (rDNA) distinguished six lineages in this species complex. Each ITS lineage may represent one or more putative species. While some isolates have identical ITS sequences, all of them could be clearly differentiated by genetic fingerprinting using random amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD). To investigate the suitability of RAPD markers for taxonomic identification and grouping of isolates of the G. lucidum complex, RAPD fragments (RAPDs) were used as phenotypic characters in numerical and parsimony analyses. Results show that data from RAPDS do not distinguish the same clades as ITS data do. Groupings based on analysis of RAPD data were very sensitive to the choice of the grouping method used, and no consistent grouping of isolates could be proposed. However, analysis with RAPDs did resolve several robust terminal clades containing putatively conspecific isolates, suggesting that RAPDs might be helpful for systematics at the lower taxonomic levels that are unresolved by ITS sequence data. The limitations of RAPDs for systematics are briefly discussed. The conclusion of this study is that ITS sequences can be used to identify isolates of the G. lucidum complex, whereas RAPDs can be used to differentiate between isolates having identical ITS sequences. The practical implications of these results are briefly illustrated.