BACKGROUND: Knowledge of the natural occurrence and community structure of entomopathogenic fungi is important to understand their ecological role. Species of the genus Metarhizium are widespread in soils and have recently been reported to associate with plant roots, but the species M. flavoviride has so far received little attention and intra-specific diversity among isolate collections has never been assessed. In the present study M. flavoviride was found to be abundant among Metarhizium spp. isolates obtained from roots and root-associated soil of winter wheat, winter oilseed rape and neighboring uncultivated pastures at three geographically separated locations in Denmark. The objective was therefore to evaluate molecular diversity and resolve the potential population structure of M. flavoviride. RESULTS: Of the 132 Metarhizium isolates obtained, morphological data and DNA sequencing revealed that 118 belonged to M. flavoviride, 13 to M. brunneum and one to M. majus. Further characterization of intraspecific variability within M. flavoviride was done by using amplified fragment length polymorphisms (AFLP) to evaluate diversity and potential crop and/or locality associations. A high level of diversity among the M. flavoviride isolates was observed, indicating that the isolates were not of the same clonal origin, and that certain haplotypes were shared with M. flavoviride isolates from other countries. However, no population structure in the form of significant haplotype groupings or habitat associations could be determined among the 118 analyzed M. flavoviride isolates. CONCLUSIONS: This study represents the first in-depth analysis of the molecular diversity within a large isolate collection of the species M. flavoviride. The AFLP analysis confirmed a high level of intra-specific diversity within the species and lack of apparent association patterns with crop or location indicates limited ecological specialization. The relatively infrequent isolation of M. flavoviride directly from crop roots suggests low dependence of root association for the species.