Background Environmental variation related to ecological habitat is the main driver of plant adaptive divergence. Longitude plays an important role in the formation of plant population structure, indicating that environmental differentiation can significantly shape population structure. Methods Genetic diversity and population genetic structure were estimated using 105 expressed sequence tag-derived simple sequence repeat (EST-SSR) loci. A total of 249 C. dactylon (L.) Pers. (common bermudagrass) individuals were sampled from 13 geographic sites along the longitude (105°57'34"-119°27'06"E). Results There was no obvious linear trend of intra-population genetic diversity along longitude and the intra-population genetic diversity was not related to climate in this study. Low gene flow (Nm = 0.7701) meant a rich genetic differentiation among populations of C. dactylon along longitude gradients. Significantly positive Mantel correlation (r=0.438, P = 0.001) was found between genetic distance and geographical interval while no significant partial Mantel correlation after controlling the effect of mean annual precipitation, which indicated geographic distance correlated with mean annual precipitation affect genetic distance. The genetic diversity of C. dactylon with higher ploidy level was higher than that with lower ploidy level and groups of individuals with higher ploidy level were separated further away by genetic distance from the lower ploidy levels. Understanding the different genetic bases of local adaptation comparatively between latitude and longitude is one of the core findings in the adaptive evolution of plants.