During colonization (circa 1625), wide scale deforestation of the Virgin Islands devastated native plant populations. Some species have since begun to recover, while others have become extinct and still others remain rare. One such plant is Solanum conocarpum Dunal in Poir. (Solanaceae), an extremely rare shrub believed to be extant only on the island of Saint John in the United States Virgin Islands. In recent years, only four individuals (and no seedlings) have been found in the wild. As the first stage of a project analyzing the genetic diversity of rare Virgin Islands plants, we are using ten randomly selected 10-mer primers to perform RAPD analysis on S. conocarpum. We have detected a relatively high level diversity among the four extant individuals of the species. This diversity indicates that the existing plants may be the remnants of multiple populations of the species

Key words: Solanum conocarpum Solanaceae Virgin Islands RAPD