South American natural grasslands are composed of several species with different growth strategies, with variations in specific leaf area (SLA), leaf dry matter content (LDMC), specific root length (SRL) and specific root area (SRA). The objective of this study was characterizing in grasses cultivated with different levels of phosphorus (P) in the soil if species with higher leaf and root area production per unit of dry matter have higher tissue P concentration, P use efficiency and higher dry matter yield. The plant species were grown in a greenhouse in pots with 5 kg of soil in a completely randomized design with four replicates and two conditions of P availability: addition of 60 mg kg-1 soil and without addition of P. The species with the highest SRA had a higher leaf and root P concentration. The higher production of leaf or root surface area per unit of dry matter did not represent higher tissue P use efficiency. The group formed by species of genre Paspalum had a higher leaf and root P use efficiency, therefore, areas composed of this genre are preferred for P fertilization.
leaf attributes; phosphate fertilization; relative growth rate; remobilization of P.