At 40 sites in England and South Wales, mostly in grassland, features of the soil and vegetation were measured. Three Plantago lanceolata individuals were collected from each site, nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium concentrations in the leaves were measured, and the abundance of mycorrhizal infection and of fungi and bacteria on the root surface was determined by microscopic examination of stained root segments. The results were subjected to multiple regression analysis.
Mycorrhizal abundance was most significantly related to vascular plant cover (negatively) and Plantago leaf length (positively), bacteria to soil organic matter (positively), fungi to cover of non-grasses (positively) and leaf phosphorus concentration (negatively). The ecological interpretation of these relationships is discussed.