Perennial pepperweed is an invasive plant species in North America, native to temperate Eurasia and northern Africa. Effective biological control depends upon correct taxonomic identification. Therefore, we investigated morphological and genetic data (cpDNA sequences and amplified fragment length polymorphisms [AFLP]) in its native range, where the species is at times treated as multiple taxa (L. latifolium, L. affine and L. obtusum). We also analyzed genetic data to determine the number and distribution of haplotypes and genotypes in the invaded range. Using Bayesian analysis, we found three clusters of AFLP genotypes in the native range, but little correlation between these clusters and morphological characters used to distinguish taxa. Also, we found combinations of morphological character states within many native range plants that are incompatible with current species descriptions, offering no support for splitting L. latifolium sensu lato into three species. In North America 97% of the genetic variation was among populations and there were only eight AFLP genotypes in 288 plants, suggesting few introductions or a severe bottleneck, and little or no creation of new genotypes since introduction. We found plants in the native range that are genetically similar (88 to 99%) to six of the eight invasive AFLP genotypes, suggesting that Kazakhstan and China are origins for much of the North American invasion.