The concept of a core collection was elaborated to fit the necessity of optimizing the management, for both conservation and use, of genetic resources in sizeable collections. This approach requires an analysis of how the genetic variability is structured among the accessions. The large number of heterogeneous populations in our collection of Brassica oleracea makes genetic diversity studies based on plant-to-plant analysis impracticable. To overcome this limitation, the variability analysis by RAPD on seed bulks was investigated for its efficiency in assessing the structure of the genetic diversity of this collection. The optimal bulk size and the bulking or sampling variation were evaluated with bulks of different size and with replicated samples. A mixture of known genotypes was also used to characterise the band detection in bulks, and to compare the plant-to-plant and the bulk methods. Forty seeds were chosen to represent each population. In such a bulk, the detection of bands depended on the proportion of the genotype they were derived from in the mixture. Intense and frequent bands were detected in the bulk with a 15% detection limit. The observed bulking or sampling variation within populations was smaller than the variation between populations, leading to an efficient separation of populations with a clustering of all samples of the same population. The distances calculated from bulk data were highly correlated with the distances based on the plant-to-plant analysis. We demonstrated that RAPD on seed bulks can be used to describe the genetic diversity between populations.