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Drooping Brome Grass

Anisantha tectorum

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 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, Great Brome 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:
1 metre tall
Fields, grassland, heathland, roadsides, wasteland, wetland.

Green, no petals
A drooping panicle consisting of around 30 awned, green to browinish-purple spikelets. The awns are between 10 and 18mm in length. Each spikelet has between 5 and 8 flowers.
The fruit is called a caryopsis and it is a type of dry, one-seeded fruit.
A winter annual grass with softly hairy, linear leaves.
Other Names:
Annual Brome, Cheat Brome, Cheatgrass, Drooping Brome.
Frequency (UK):

Similar Species

Other Information


Anisantha tectorum, also known as annual brome, is a species of grass in the genus Anisantha. This species is native to Europe, Asia and North America, typically found in dry and disturbed habitats such as roadsides, wastelands, and other human-modified areas. It is an annual grass, that can grow up to 1 meters tall. It has narrow leaves, with a spike-like panicle of small green-brown flowers that appear in the summer.

It is considered as a weed in many areas, it is invasive and can outcompete native plants, altering the composition of native ecosystems. It's often found in dry and disturbed habitats, such as roadsides and wastelands. It can also be a problem in pasture and other grassland areas. Because of this, it is controlled and managed in some places. It is not considered to be a valuable forage grass species, due to the low nutritional value of the plant and its allelopathic effect on other species.


Drooping Brome Grass, scientifically known as Anisantha tectorum, is a cool-season annual grass that is native to Eurasia. It is also commonly referred to as Downy Brome or Cheatgrass. The plant is highly invasive and has become a significant problem in many parts of the world, including the United States, where it has invaded millions of acres of rangeland, cropland, and natural areas.

Appearance and Characteristics

Drooping Brome Grass has an erect growth habit, with stems that can grow up to 2.5 feet in height. The leaves are thin and narrow, and the seedheads are drooping and loosely branched. The plant has a shallow root system, which makes it highly adaptable to a wide range of soil types and moisture levels. It has a short life cycle, completing its growth cycle in a single season.

Invasion and Impacts

Drooping Brome Grass is highly invasive and can outcompete native vegetation, reducing biodiversity and disrupting ecosystem functions. The plant's shallow root system and rapid growth rate allow it to quickly colonize disturbed areas, such as roadsides, agricultural fields, and burned areas.

One of the most significant impacts of Drooping Brome Grass is its ability to increase the frequency and intensity of wildfires. The plant's fine stems and leaves dry out quickly, providing ample fuel for fires. Additionally, the plant is adapted to fire-prone ecosystems, and its seeds can survive in the soil for many years, waiting for the next fire to germinate and grow.

Control and Management

Controlling Drooping Brome Grass can be a significant challenge. The plant's short life cycle, high seed production, and ability to adapt to a wide range of conditions make it difficult to eradicate. However, there are several management strategies that can help reduce the plant's impact on ecosystems.

Prevention is the most effective way to manage Drooping Brome Grass. Preventing the spread of the plant's seeds through careful monitoring of vehicles, equipment, and livestock can help reduce its impact on new areas. Additionally, restoring disturbed areas with native vegetation can help prevent the establishment of invasive species.

Chemical control can also be effective in reducing the impact of Drooping Brome Grass. Herbicides such as glyphosate and imazapic can be used to target the plant's root system and prevent its growth. However, chemical control should be used with caution, as it can have negative impacts on non-target species and can harm the environment.

Drooping Brome Grass is a highly invasive species that has become a significant problem in many parts of the world. Its ability to outcompete native vegetation and increase the frequency and intensity of wildfires makes it a serious threat to ecosystem health and function. Prevention and careful management are critical to reducing the impact of this invasive plant and restoring native ecosystems.

More Information

In addition to prevention and chemical control, there are several other management strategies that can be used to manage Drooping Brome Grass:

  1. Grazing Management: Grazing can be used as a tool to manage Drooping Brome Grass. Cattle and sheep prefer to graze on the plant when it is young and tender, so timing grazing to coincide with the plant's growth cycle can help reduce its impact.

  2. Mechanical Control: Mowing, tilling, or hand-pulling can be used to control Drooping Brome Grass. However, these methods can be labor-intensive and may not be effective in reducing the plant's impact.

  3. Biological Control: Biological control involves using natural enemies, such as insects or pathogens, to control invasive species. Several potential biological control agents have been identified for Drooping Brome Grass, but more research is needed to determine their effectiveness and potential impacts on non-target species.

It is important to note that there is no single solution to managing Drooping Brome Grass. A combination of management strategies, tailored to the specific site and ecosystem, may be necessary to reduce the plant's impact.

Drooping Brome Grass is a highly invasive species that poses a significant threat to ecosystem health and function. Prevention and careful management are critical to reducing its impact and restoring native ecosystems. While controlling this invasive species can be a challenge, there are a variety of management strategies available that can be tailored to the specific site and ecosystem to help manage the spread of Drooping Brome Grass.

Drooping Brome Grass is not only a threat to natural ecosystems but also to agriculture. The plant can reduce crop yields, especially in small grain crops such as wheat and barley, by competing for water and nutrients. It can also contaminate harvested crops with its seeds, reducing the quality of the grain and making it difficult to market.

Effective management of Drooping Brome Grass in agricultural settings involves a combination of cultural, chemical, and mechanical control methods. Crop rotation, planting competitive crops, and adjusting planting dates can help reduce the plant's impact. Chemical control can be used as a last resort, but care should be taken to prevent damage to non-target crops and the environment.

In addition to its impacts on ecosystems and agriculture, Drooping Brome Grass also has implications for human health. The plant produces large amounts of pollen, which can cause allergic reactions in sensitive individuals. It can also be a fire hazard, especially in urban areas where it can quickly colonize vacant lots and other disturbed areas.

Awareness and education are essential in the management of Drooping Brome Grass. Land managers, farmers, and the general public need to understand the impacts of this invasive species and be aware of the management strategies available to control it.

In conclusion, the management of Drooping Brome Grass is an ongoing challenge that requires a comprehensive and integrated approach. Prevention, early detection, and careful management are critical to reducing the plant's impact on ecosystems, agriculture, and human health. By working together, we can help control the spread of this invasive species and protect our natural resources for future generations.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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