a phytosociological survey was carried out in a study area located at serra do sudeste, southern brazil, where forests and grasslands are distributed in a mosaic, seeking to unravel diversity patterns in four different grassland communities. grassland management traditionally adopted by the local population is characterized by burning practices that aim to eliminate woody species, delaying the forest expansion process that is favored by the extant climate. the number of plots distributed per community was as follows: rocky grasslands (17), dry grasslands (33), moist grasslands (15) and marshy grasslands (5). different numbers of plots were used due to the natural conditions of these communities, with highest cover for dry grasslands, followed by rocky, moist and marshy grasslands. data analyses consisted of calculating community indexes and parameters and exploratory multivariate analysis. we verified that c. 15% of species among the 177 registered taxa were highly dominant in the constitution of the vegetation matrix in all communities, whereas most of the species showed low frequency and cover values. rocky and dry grasslands showed higher similarity and diversity indexes than moist and marshy grasslands. we concluded that the large number of rare or intermediate-frequency species is decisive for the high diversity found in these grasslands.