The phosphorus efficiency, relative biologic characteristics and relative root exudations as well as the quantitative trait loci associated with these traits were determined for an F2:3 population derived from the cross of two contrasting maize (Zea mays L.) genotypes, 082 and Ye107. A total of 241 F2:3 families were evaluated in replicated trials under normal phosphorus (50 kg P/ha) and low phosphorus (0 kg P/ha) conditions in 2007 at two sites (Kaixian and Southwest University). The genetic map constructed by 275 SSR and 146 AFLP markers spanned 1,681.3 cM in length with an average interval of 3.84 cM. The heritability of PE, PAE, RPH, RBW, RRW, RLA, TPS, RTW, RFN, RAP and RH was all high (h2b > 60%) whereas the heritability of root exudations was all low (h2b > 60%). By using composite interval mapping (CIM), a total of 30 and 45 distinct QTLs were identified at Kaixian and Southwest University. At two sites, the number of same QTL located on common region was 16, five for PE (bins 1.07, 4.09, 5.05, 5.07, 5.08), three for RBW (bins 3.04, 5.04, 6.05), three for RRW (bins 5.05, 5.06, 5.07), one for RLA (bins 3.04), two for TPS (bins 3.08, 5.07), two for RTW (bins 5.05, 5.06). These QTLs explained 21% of the phenotypic variation of PE, 5–9% of RBW, 13–16% of RRW, 9% of TPS, 7% of RTW, respectively. The 16 common QTLs displayed mostly partial dominance or over-dominance gene action. Most QTL alleles conferring high values for the traits came from two parents. Mapping analysis identified chromosomal regions associated with two or more traits in a cluster, which was consistent with correlation among traits. The result showed either pleiotropy or tight linkage among QTL. Five common regions for same QTL at different site were found in the interval bnlg1556-bnlg1564 (bins 1.06), mmc0341-umc1101 (bins 4.08), mmc0282-phi333597 (bins 5.05), bnlg1346-bnlg1695 (bins 5.07) and bnlg118a-umc2136 (bins 5.08), which were important for PE. The information reported in the present paper may be useful for improving phosphorus efficiency by means of marker-assisted selection.