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Great Brome Grass

Anisantha diandra

Please keep in mind that it is illegal to uproot a plant without the landowner's consent and care should be taken at all times not to damage wild plants. Wild plants should never be picked for pleasure and some plants are protected by law.
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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Poaceae (Grass)
Also in this family:
Alpine Catstail, Alpine Foxtail, Alpine Meadow-grass, Annual Beard-grass, Annual Meadow-grass, Arrow Bamboo, Barren Brome Grass, Bearded Couch Grass, Bearded Fescue, Bermuda Grass, Black Bent, Black Grass, Blue Fescue, Blue Moor-grass, Bog Hair-grass, Borrer's Saltmarsh Grass, Bread Wheat, Bristle Bent, Brown Bent, Brown Sedge, Bulbous Foxtail, Bulbous Meadow-grass, California Brome Grass, Canary Grass, Carnation Sedge, Cocksfoot, Cockspur, Common Bent, Common Cord-grass, Common Millet, Common Reed, Common Saltmarsh Grass, Compact Brome Grass, Corn, Couch Grass, Creeping Bent, Creeping Soft-grass, Crested Dog's-tail, Crested Hair-grass, Cultivated Oat, Curved Hard Grass, Cut Grass, Dense Silky Bent, Downy Oat-grass, Drooping Brome Grass, Drooping Tor Grass, Dune Fescue, Early Hair-grass, Early Meadow-grass, Early Sand-grass, False Brome Grass, False Oat-grass, Fern Grass, Fine-leaved Sheep's Fescue, Flattened Meadow-grass, Floating Sweet-grass, Foxtail Barley, French Oat, Giant Fescue, Glaucous Meadow-grass, Greater Quaking Grass, Grey Hair-grass, Hairy Brome Grass, Hairy Finger-grass, Hard Fescue, Hard Grass, Harestail Grass, Heath Grass, Holy Grass, Hybrid Marram Grass, Italian Rye Grass, Knotroot Bristlegrass, Lesser Hairy Brome Grass, Lesser Quaking Grass, Loose Silky Bent, Lyme Grass, Marram Grass, Marsh Foxtail, Mat Grass, Mat-grass Fescue, Meadow Barley, Meadow Fescue, Meadow Foxtail, Meadow Oat-grass, Mountain Melick, Narrow-leaved Meadow-grass, Narrow-leaved Small-reed, Neglected Couch Grass, Nit Grass, Orange Foxtail, Pampas Grass, Perennial Rye Grass, Plicate Sweet-grass, Purple Moor-grass, Purple Small-reed, Purple-stem Catstail, Quaking Grass, Ratstail Fescue, Red Fescue, Reed Canary Grass, Reed Sweet-grass, Reflexed Saltmarsh Grass, Rescue Grass, Rough Meadow-grass, Rush-leaved Fescue, Sand Catstail, Sand Couch Grass, Scandinavian Small-reed, Scottish Small-reed, Sea Barley, Sea Couch Grass, Sea Fern Grass, Sheep's Fescue, Silver Hair-grass, Six-rowed Barley, Slender Brome Grass, Small Cord-grass, Small Sweet-grass, Smaller Catstail, Smooth Brome Grass, Smooth Cord-grass, Smooth Finger-grass, Smooth Meadow-grass, Soft Brome Grass, Somerset Hair-grass, Sorghum, Spreading Meadow-grass, Squirreltail Fescue, Stiff Brome Grass, Stiff Saltmarsh Grass, Sweet Vernal Grass, Tall Fescue, Timothy Grass, Tor Grass, Tufted Hair-grass, Two-rowed Barley, Upright Brome Grass, Velvet Bent, Viviparous Fescue, Wall Barley, Wavy Hair-grass, Wavy Meadow-grass, Whorl Grass, Wild Oat, Wood Barley, Wood Fescue, Wood Meadow-grass, Wood Melick, Wood Millet, Yellow Oat-grass, Yorkshire Fog
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
2 metres tall
Fields, grassland, heathland, meadows, riverbanks, riversides, roadsides, sand dunes, wasteland, waterside.

Green, no petals
Green, tinged purple. The flowers are arranged in a panicle. This species is similar to Barren Brome (Anisantha sterilis) but Greater Brome has much longer spikelets (up to 9cm including the very long awn).
A caryopsis which is a type of dry, one-seeded fruit.
Rough, hairy, linear leaves, up to 90cm tall and about 1cm wide. Annual.
Other Names:
Great Brome, Ripgut Brome, Ripgut Grass.
Frequency (UK):
Occasionally seen  

Similar Species

Other Information


Anisantha diandra, also known as Great Brome, is a species of grass in the genus Anisantha. This species is native to Europe, Asia and North America, typically found in wet meadows, grasslands, and along the banks of streams and rivers. It is a perennial grass that forms clumps of broad leaves and can grow up to 1-2 meters tall. The plant produces spikes of small green-brown flowers in the summer.

It is considered as a good forage grass for livestock and wildlife, and it also can be used for erosion control and soil conservation. However, in some regions it can be invasive and can outcompete native plants, and as such it should be carefully managed. Some species of this genus are considered as good bioindicator plants, to identify the quality of grasslands or meadows.


Great Brome Grass, also known as Anisantha diandra, is a tall, perennial grass that is native to Europe, Asia, and Africa. It has also been introduced to other parts of the world, including North America, where it is considered an invasive species. Great Brome Grass is often found in open fields, meadows, and disturbed areas, and it can grow up to six feet tall.

Great Brome Grass is a popular forage crop for livestock, as it is high in protein and easily digestible. It is also used for erosion control and as a cover crop to prevent soil erosion and promote soil health. In addition, Great Brome Grass is used in landscaping and for ornamental purposes.

One of the distinguishing characteristics of Great Brome Grass is its long, narrow leaves, which can grow up to a foot long. The leaves are smooth and glossy on the upper surface, while the underside is rough to the touch. The stem of the plant is hollow and can be up to a quarter of an inch in diameter. The flowers of Great Brome Grass are arranged in loose clusters and are usually green or purple in color. The plant blooms from June to August, and the flowers are followed by seed heads that can be up to six inches long.

While Great Brome Grass has many benefits, it can also be problematic. In areas where it is not native, Great Brome Grass can become invasive and crowd out native species, reducing biodiversity. It can also be difficult to control, as it spreads through rhizomes and can quickly form dense stands. In some areas, Great Brome Grass is classified as a noxious weed and efforts are being made to control its spread.

Great Brome Grass, like many other grass species, has adapted to survive in a variety of environments. It is able to tolerate a wide range of soil types, from sandy to clay soils, and can grow in both wet and dry conditions. This adaptability makes it a popular choice for agricultural and landscaping purposes.

In addition to its adaptability, Great Brome Grass has also been found to have some medicinal properties. The plant contains compounds that have anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects, which can be useful for treating pain and inflammation. It has also been used in traditional medicine to treat a variety of ailments, including respiratory infections, digestive problems, and skin conditions.

However, while Great Brome Grass has some medicinal benefits, it is important to note that it can also be toxic to livestock. The plant contains alkaloids that can cause neurological problems in animals that consume large amounts of it. Livestock producers should be aware of this potential risk and take steps to manage their pastures accordingly.

Another interesting aspect of Great Brome Grass is its ecological role as a host plant for various insect species. The plant's long, narrow leaves and hollow stems provide shelter and habitat for a range of insects, including grasshoppers, crickets, and katydids. These insects, in turn, serve as food for other animals, such as birds and small mammals, helping to support a diverse ecosystem.

In addition to its ecological benefits, Great Brome Grass has also been found to have potential as a bioenergy crop. The plant's high biomass yield and ability to grow in a variety of conditions make it a promising candidate for biofuel production. Researchers are exploring ways to use Great Brome Grass to produce ethanol and other biofuels, which could help to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels and mitigate the effects of climate change.

Great Brome Grass is a versatile plant with many benefits and potential uses. Whether it is being used for agricultural purposes, erosion control, or as a source of bioenergy, it is important to manage its growth and prevent it from becoming invasive. By taking a responsible approach to Great Brome Grass management, we can continue to benefit from this valuable plant while also protecting the environment and preserving biodiversity.

Great Brome Grass is also known to have allelopathic properties, meaning that it can release chemicals that inhibit the growth of other plants. This can be both beneficial and detrimental, depending on the situation. For example, in agricultural settings, Great Brome Grass can be planted as a cover crop to suppress the growth of weeds and other unwanted plants. However, in natural ecosystems, the allelopathic effects of Great Brome Grass can contribute to its invasiveness, as it can outcompete native species and disrupt the balance of the ecosystem.

Another interesting aspect of Great Brome Grass is its role in carbon sequestration. Like all plants, Great Brome Grass absorbs carbon dioxide from the atmosphere during photosynthesis and stores it in its biomass. Because it is a high-yielding grass species, Great Brome Grass has the potential to sequester significant amounts of carbon, helping to mitigate the effects of climate change. In addition, the plant's extensive root system can improve soil quality and reduce erosion, further contributing to its environmental benefits.

However, as with any plant species, it is important to carefully consider the potential risks and benefits of using Great Brome Grass in various settings. While it has many valuable uses, it can also become invasive and cause harm to native ecosystems. By taking a responsible approach to Great Brome Grass management, we can harness its benefits while minimizing its potential negative impacts.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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