- Neighbouring plants are known to vary from having similar to dissimilar arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal (AMF) communities. One possibility is that closely related plants have more similar AMF communities than more distantly related plants, an indication of phylogenetic host specificity. Here, we investigated the structure of AMF communities among dominant grassland plants at three sites in the Northern Great Plains to test whether the pairwise phylogenetic distance among plant species was correlated with pairwise AMF community dissimilarity. For eight dominant and co-occurring grassland plant species, we reconstructed a phylogeny based on DNA data and characterized the AMF communities of their roots at each site. Community analyses revealed that AMF communities varied among sites and among plant species. Contrary to expectations for phylogenetic host specificity, we found that within a site more closely related plants had more distinct AMF communities despite their having similar phenologies. Associations with unique AMF communities may enhance the functional complementarity of related species and promote their coexistence.