Bromus tectorum L.

cheat brome, cheatgrass

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New England Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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North America Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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Facts About

Cheat brome is native to Eurasia and introduced throughout the temperate regions of the world as well as throughout North America, where it is classified as a noxious weed in some states. Its growth and spread rate are rapid, and its recruitment may be aided by fire.

Habitat

Anthropogenic (man-made or disturbed habitats), meadows and fields

Characteristics

Habitat
terrestrial
New England state
  • Connecticut
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • New Hampshire
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont
Leaf blade width
1–6 mm
Inflorescence branches
the flowers are attached to branches rather than to the main axis of the inflorescence
Spikelet length
10–20 mm
Glume relative length
neither glume is quite as long as all of the florets
Awn on glume
the glume has no awn
One or more florets
there is more than one floret per spikelet
Lemma awn length
10–18 mm
Leaf sheath hair type
there are hairs on the surface of the leaf sheath, but the hairs do not have blisters at their bases
Leaf ligule length
2–4 mm
Anther length
0.5–1 mm
Show All Characteristics
  • Flowers
    Anther length
    0.5–1 mm
    Anther number
    2–3
    Awn on glume
    the glume has no awn
    Bristles below spikelets
    no
    Floret lower bract texture
    the lemma is thin and flexible
    Floret number
    4–8
    Floret types within spikelet
    all the florets within a spikelet are similar
    Glume awn length
    0 mm
    Glume keel
    • the glume keels are rough or hairy
    • the glume keels are smooth and hairless
    Glume relative length
    neither glume is quite as long as all of the florets
    Glume shape
    • the glume is V-shaped in cross-section
    • the glume is flat or curved in cross-section
    Glume veins
    • 1
    • 3
    • 5
    Glumes per spikelet
    2
    Inflorescence arrangement
    the spikelets are uniform
    Inflorescence axis orientation
    the inflorescence axis bends downwards or hangs
    Inflorescence branch length
    1–4 cm
    Inflorescence branches
    the flowers are attached to branches rather than to the main axis of the inflorescence
    Inflorescence branches coming off the lowest stem node
    3–5
    Inflorescence crowding
    the panicle is somewhat to very spread out, with clearly-evident branches
    Inflorescence length
    50–200 mm
    Inflorescence length to width ratio
    1.7–2.5
    Inflorescence type (general)
    the spikelets are borne on stalks or on branches
    Inflorescence type (specific)
    the inflorescence is branched, and the branches do NOT both grow from the same side of the plant AND look like spikes
    Inflorescence width
    30–80 mm
    Inforescence position
    the spikelets are mainly carried at the end of the stem
    Lemma awn base
    the awn is attached at the upper half of the lemma
    Lemma awn coiled
    the lemma awn is straight or twisted, but not coiled one half turn
    Lemma awn length
    10–18 mm
    Lemma awn number
    the lemma has one awn on it
    Lemma awn orientation
    the awn of the lemma is straight
    Lemma base hair length
    0 mm
    Lemma base hairs
    the lemma is hairless or feels just a tiny bit rough at the base
    Lemma cross-section
    the lemma is flat or rounded if you cut across the midpoint
    Lemma hairs
    • the lemma has fine hairs between the veins
    • the lemma is hairless between the veins
    Lemma keel hairs
    • the keel of the lemma is hairless
    • the keel of the lemma is rough, or has fine hairs
    Lemma marginal vein hairs
    • the marginal vein of the lemma has fine hairs on it
    • the marginal vein of the lemma is hairless
    Lemma surface
    the surface of the lemma is relatively smooth (not counting any longitudinal veins or hairs)
    Lemma tip
    the lemma tip is split into two or more points
    Lemma tip shape
    the lemma tip tapers to a long narrow point (it may or may not also have an awn or teeth at the tip)
    Lemma vein number
    • 5
    • 7 or more
    Lemma vein orientation
    the veins on the lemma come together near the tip
    Lower glume length
    4–9 mm
    Lower glume relative length
    the lower glume is one third to three quarters as long as the upper glume
    One or more florets
    there is more than one floret per spikelet
    Palea relative length
    palea is one half to fully as long as lemma
    Reproductive system
    all the flowers on the plant have both carpels and stamens (synoecious)
    Spikelet axis tip
    there is an extension of the spikelet axis beyond the tip of the spikelet
    Spikelet disintegration
    the spikelet breaks off above the glumes, so that after the florets fall off, the glumes remain
    Spikelet length
    10–20 mm
    Spikelet number per node
    0
    Spikelet pedicel
    the spikelets have pedicels
    Spikelet position
    the spikelets emerge mainly from the upper halves of the inflorescence branches
    Spikelet shape
    • the spikelets are oblanceolate (lance-shaped, but with the widest point above the middle) in profile
    • the spikelets are oblong (rectangular, but with rounded ends) in profile
    Spikelet width
    3–4 mm
    Spikelets per panicle branch
    4–8
    Spikelets spiny
    the spikelets do not appear spiny
    Tip of glume
    the tip of the glume is not divided (though it may have an awn on it)
    Upper glume length
    7–13 mm
    Upper glume relative length
    the upper glume is more than one half as long as the lowest lemma
    Upper glume shape
    the upper glume is widest at or below the middle
  • Fruits or seeds
    Groove on seed
    the caryopsis has a groove running most of its length
    Seed length
    7–8 mm
  • Growth form
    Horizontal rooting stem
    no
    Lifespan
    the plant lives only a single year or less
    Rhizomes
    no
    Roots
    there are only slender roots on the plant
  • Leaves
    Basal leaves
    the plant has few or no leaves coming from the base of the flowering stem
    Leaf auricles
    the leaves do not have auricles
    Leaf basal lobe hairy
    NA
    Leaf blade base
    the leaf blade is rounded in to a narrower base, or the blade cuts in abruptly to the narrower base
    Leaf blade cross-section
    the leaf blade is more or less flat in cross-section, or slightly folded or rolled inwards
    Leaf blade hairs
    the leaf blade is hairy
    Leaf blade length
    Up to 16 cm
    Leaf blade width
    1–6 mm
    Leaf ligule length
    2–4 mm
    Leaf ligule type
    the leaf ligule is in the form of a membrane
    Leaf margin glands
    there are no glands along the edges of the leaf blade
    Leaf sheath closed around stem
    the margins of the leaf sheath are fused together and form a closed tube except (possibly) at the very top
    Leaf sheath hair type
    there are hairs on the surface of the leaf sheath, but the hairs do not have blisters at their bases
    Leaf sheath hairs
    • there are hairs on the surface of the leaf sheath
    • there are no hairs on the surface of the leaf sheath
    Orientation of topmost leaf
    • the flag leaf is held outward at more than a 45 degree angle from the stem, or it curves downwards from the horizontal
    • the flag leaf is held upright, or at less than a 45 degree angle out from the stem
  • Place
    Habitat
    terrestrial
    New England state
    • Connecticut
    • Maine
    • Massachusetts
    • New Hampshire
    • Rhode Island
    • Vermont
    Specific habitat
    • man-made or disturbed habitats
    • meadows or fields
  • Stem, shoot, branch
    Hairs at nodes
    the stem nodes are hairless or they have very sparse hairs
    Plant height
    5–90 cm
    Roots at lower stem nodes
    no
    Stem hairs
    the stem has hairs on it
    Stem node number
    3–4
    Stem orientation
    the stems are upright

Wetland Status

Not classified

New England Distribution and Conservation Status

Distribution

Connecticut
present, invasive, prohibited
Maine
present
Massachusetts
present
New Hampshire
present
Rhode Island
present
Vermont
present

Conservation Status

Exact status definitions can vary from state to state. For details, please check with your state.

Massachusetts
not applicable (S-rank: SNA)

var. tectorum

Massachusetts
unranked (S-rank: SNR)

Native to North America?

No

Sometimes Confused With

Bromus sterilis:
lemmas 14-20 mm long, with awns 15-30 mm long, and anthers 1-1.4 mm long (vs. B. tectorum, with lemmas 9-12 mm long, with awns 10-18 mm long, and anthers 0.5-1 mm long).

Synonyms

  • Anisantha tectorum (L.) Nevski

Family

Poaceae

Genus

Bromus

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Information from Dichotomous Key of Flora Novae Angliae

20.  Bromus tectorum L. E

cheat brome. Anisantha tectorum (L.) Nevski • CT, MA, ME, NH, RI, VT. Fields, roadsides, disturbed soil, cracks in pavement and sidewalks.