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Slender Brome Grass

Bromus lepidus

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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, 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, 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:
90 centimetres tall
Fields, grassland, meadows, roadsides, rocky places, wasteland.

Green, no petals
An erect narrow panicle with clustered branches, up to 4cm in length. Each spikelet has 3 florets.
The fruit of Slender Brome is called a caryopsis. This is a type of dry, one-seeded fruit.
An annual or biennial grass with smooth, linear, flat leaf blades.
Other Names:
Hair Brome, Meadow Brome, Slender Brome, Slender Soft Brome.
Frequency (UK):
Occasionally seen  

Similar Species

Other Information


Bromus lepidus, also known as hair brome or meadow brome, is a species of grass in the genus Bromus. It is native to North America and can be found in a wide range of habitats, including meadows, grasslands, and rocky or gravelly areas. It is a perennial grass that forms dense clumps, and can grow to a height of up to 3 feet. The leaves are narrow, with a hairy or fuzzy texture, and the plant produces spikes of small, greenish-brown flowers in the summer.

Bromus lepidus is considered to be a valuable forage grass species in many regions, providing food for both livestock and wildlife. It is well-adapted to a wide range of soil and climatic conditions, and it is often found in association with other grass species in meadows, prairies, and other grassland ecosystems. It also can be used for erosion control and soil conservation. However, it is considered to be a weedy species in some regions, due to its ability to outcompete native plants and cause changes in plant community structure.


Slender brome grass, also known as Bromus lepidus, is a cool-season perennial grass that is native to the western United States. This grass is known for its slender, erect stems and spike-like inflorescences that bear numerous small seeds. While slender brome grass is not commonly cultivated as a forage crop, it is an important component of many natural plant communities and can be an indicator of the health and productivity of rangeland ecosystems.

Slender brome grass is a tufted grass that typically grows to a height of 1 to 3 feet. Its leaves are long and narrow, ranging from 4 to 12 inches in length, and have rough edges that can be prickly to the touch. The inflorescences of slender brome grass are narrow, dense spikes that can be up to 6 inches in length. The seeds of this grass are small and light, with a distinctive awn that allows them to be easily dispersed by the wind.

One of the key ecological roles of slender brome grass is its ability to provide forage for wildlife and livestock. While it is not a particularly nutritious grass, it is palatable and can be an important source of food for grazers during the early spring and fall months. In addition, slender brome grass is an important component of many wildlife habitats, providing cover and shelter for small mammals and birds.

Slender brome grass is also an important indicator of the health and productivity of rangeland ecosystems. Because it is a cool-season grass, it is well adapted to the wetter months of the year, and its presence can be an indication of the availability of moisture in the soil. In addition, slender brome grass is often found growing in areas that have been disturbed by human activity, such as overgrazed pastures or abandoned agricultural fields. Its presence in these areas can be an indication of the potential for restoration and recovery of the ecosystem.

While slender brome grass is not commonly cultivated as a forage crop, it can be a valuable component of rangeland ecosystems and can provide important ecological services. However, like many native grasses, it is threatened by a number of factors, including invasive species, habitat destruction, and climate change. To protect and conserve this important grass species, it is important to monitor its populations and take steps to mitigate the factors that threaten its survival.

Slender brome grass is adapted to a wide range of soil types and can tolerate both dry and moderately moist conditions. It is often found growing in areas with rocky or sandy soils, and it is commonly associated with sagebrush, pinyon-juniper, and other shrub communities. Slender brome grass is well adapted to fire-prone ecosystems and is able to resprout after fire or other disturbances.

One of the interesting characteristics of slender brome grass is its ability to hybridize with other species of brome grass. This has led to the development of several hybrids that are now commonly cultivated as forage crops, including meadow brome (Bromus riparius) and smooth brome (Bromus inermis). These hybrid species have been selected for their improved forage quality and yield, and they are now widely used in pasture and hay production throughout the United States and Canada.

Despite its ecological importance, slender brome grass can also be considered a weed in some agricultural settings, particularly in areas where it has been introduced outside of its native range. In these situations, slender brome grass can compete with crops for water and nutrients and can reduce crop yields. To mitigate the impact of slender brome grass in these settings, it is important to use appropriate weed management strategies, such as crop rotation, tillage, and the use of herbicides.

Slender brome grass is an important grass species that plays a key role in the functioning and productivity of rangeland ecosystems in the western United States. While it is not commonly cultivated as a forage crop, it provides important ecological services and can serve as an indicator of the health and productivity of these ecosystems. Efforts to conserve and protect this species can help ensure the long-term sustainability of rangeland ecosystems and the many benefits they provide, including wildlife habitat, forage for livestock, and carbon sequestration.

Another interesting aspect of slender brome grass is its allelopathic properties. Allelopathy refers to the ability of a plant to release chemicals that inhibit the growth or development of other nearby plants. Slender brome grass has been shown to produce a chemical compound called gramine, which can inhibit the germination and growth of other plant species. While this can be a beneficial trait in some situations, such as in competitive plant communities where slender brome grass is dominant, it can also have negative effects on the growth and establishment of desired plant species in restoration projects or agricultural settings.

In addition to its ecological and agricultural importance, slender brome grass has also been used for medicinal purposes by some Native American tribes. The seeds of the plant were traditionally used to make a tea that was believed to have a variety of health benefits, including treating headaches, fevers, and digestive issues. While there is limited scientific evidence to support these claims, the traditional use of slender brome grass highlights the cultural significance of this plant species to indigenous communities in the western United States.

Finally, research is ongoing to explore the potential of slender brome grass as a bioenergy crop. Like many grass species, slender brome grass has the ability to accumulate large amounts of biomass, which can be converted into biofuels such as ethanol or butanol. While this technology is still in its early stages of development, the potential of slender brome grass as a sustainable source of bioenergy highlights its importance as a multi-functional plant species that can provide a wide range of ecological, agricultural, and energy benefits.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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