RAPD (random amplified polymorphic DNA) polymorphism was studied in 23 malting and non-malting spring barley cultivars included in the official list of Polish cultivated varieties. Twenty-four 10-mer primers were tested in each cultivar, giving altogether 149 amplification products, 45% of which were polymorphic. The number of polymorphic bands revealed by one primer ranged from 1 to 6, with an average of 2.8. Genetic distance for all pairs of compared varieties was estimated and a dendrogram was constructed using unweighted pair group method of arithmetic means. The genetic distance between cultivars ranged from 0.11 for cvs. Apex and Bryl to 0.62 for cvs. Orthega and Madonna. Of the seven malting cultivars only two (Brenda and Stratus) formed one group at D = 0.25. The genetic distance between cvs. Brenda and Scarlett, especially recommended for brewery, was equal to 0.34. The detected polymorphism appeared to be sufficient for assessing genetic distances between cultivars, but on the basis of this polymorphism groups of malting and non-malting cultivars were not clearly distinguished.