Maytenus ilicifolia is a medicinal plant largely used in the South Brazilian folk medicine. The aim of this study was to quantify the intra and inter populational genetic variability in three populations of M. ilicifolia, focusing on the genetic conservation of this species, which has been threatened by anthropic action. RAPD (Random Amplified Polymorphic DNA) markers were used to analyze 30 plants of each of the three populations collected in the Alto Uruguai Gaúcho region. Fourteen selected primers generated a total of 158 bands, 71.5% of which were polymorphic. The comparison of Jaccards distances showed that the intra populational variation was higher than the inter populational variability, and cluster analysis allowed the separation of the three populations. Just 7.6% of the bands were specific of at least two populations. Data indicate that the analyzed M. ilicifolia populations represent a single genetic pool, and therefore any of the population thoroughly can represent the overall genetic variability of the species in the sampled region.