[en] Pleistocene refuge theory holds that regions which nowadays harbour high numbers of endemic species correspond to forest refuges, where rainforest persisted through periods of adverse climatic conditions. In order to test this theory, we surveyed geographical patterns of genetic diversity based on chloroplast DNA sequences in 15 rainforest tree species from 12 plant families in Atlantic Equatorial Africa. We found frequent geographic structure in the data sets, but no consistent pattern of genetic structure due to refugia. Species with gravity-dispersed oily seeds display low polymorphism whilst those with divergent lineages or ancient species display high polymorphism. Phylogeographical signals often correspond to taxa with divergent lineages.