To establish relationships between soil phosphorus (P) fractions and leaf P, a mycorrhizal species (Plantago lanceolata L.) was compared with a typically non-mycorrhizal species (Rumex acetosella L.) in a glasshouse experiment. The plants were grown in 40 soils from non-fertilised, abandoned pastures or abandoned arable fields and leaf P concentration were found to be related to various soil P fractions after six weeks of growth. The differences in the P fractions in soil can account for a large share of the variation in leaf P concentration in both species, but the two species differed in their utilisation of P fractions. Leaf P concentration of R. acetosella was more related to extractable soil P than that of P. lanceolata. Rumex acetosella showed a higher maximum P concentration. The P fractions accounting for the largest share of the variation in leaf P concentration was the Bray 1 extractable and the weak oxalate (1 mM) extractable P, and for P. lanceolata also the Na2SO4+NaF extractable P fraction. P extracted with these methods accounted for up to 80% of the variation in P concentration in leaves of R. acetosella and 65% of the variation in leaves of P. lanceolata. More P extractable with weak oxalate, Na2SO4+NaF and strong oxalate (50 mM) was released from the soil than was taken up by the plants during the experimental period. The Bray 1 extractable P fraction, however, decreased in both unplanted and planted soils. Phosphatase release was not induced in any of the plants during the experimental period, indicating that they were not mobilising soil organic P. However, some of the methods extracted a large share of the organic P and still explained much of the variation in leaf P concentration. Mycorrhizal colonisation of P. lanceolata was inversely related to the extractable soil P. The consistently fast P uptake of R. acetosella indicates that this species have a high demand for P. The differences in P utilisation between R. acetosella and P. lanceolata could be caused by their different mycorrhizal status.