Open the Advanced Search

Compact Brome Grass

Anisantha madritensis

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.
For more information please download the BSBI Code of Conduct PDF document.


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, 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, 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
Grassland, roadsides, rocky places, seaside, walls, wasteland.

Green, no petals
A compact cluster with spikelets either single or paired. Awns up to 2cm long.
Grasses have fruits called caryospes. A caryopsis is a type of dry, one-seeded fruit.
Flat, linear leaves. Smooth or slightly softly hairy.
Other Names:
Compact Brome, Madrid Brome.
Frequency (UK):

Similar Species

Other Information


Anisantha madritensis, also known as Madrid brome, is a species of grass in the genus Anisantha. This species is native to Europe, 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 meter 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, as 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. It is considered a high-density weed, with a high seed production rate and germination, and has the ability to adapt to a wide range of conditions.


Compact Brome Grass (Anisantha madritensis) is a grass species native to Europe, Asia, and northern Africa. It is a cool-season perennial grass that is widely grown for its ability to withstand harsh weather conditions and its high nutritional value for livestock feed. This grass species has been introduced to North America, where it is now considered an invasive species in some areas.

Appearance and Growth Habits

Compact Brome Grass grows in tight clumps with stems that can reach up to 3 feet in height. The leaves are flat and narrow, with a bluish-green color. The inflorescence of this grass species is a spike that can grow up to 6 inches long and is densely packed with small, greenish flowers that bloom from April to June.

Compact Brome Grass is a cool-season grass that grows best in the spring and fall. It is adapted to a wide range of soil types, from sandy to clayey soils, but prefers well-drained soils. This grass species is known for its ability to tolerate drought and low soil fertility. However, it can become invasive and form dense stands that can outcompete native plant species.


Compact Brome Grass is primarily grown for forage production for livestock. It is highly palatable and nutritious, with a high protein content and good digestibility. It is also used for erosion control and as a cover crop to improve soil health. In some areas, this grass species is also used for wildlife habitat and as a source of seed for restoration projects.


While Compact Brome Grass can be a valuable forage crop, it is important to manage its growth to prevent it from becoming invasive. This grass species can quickly spread and form dense stands, outcompeting native plant species and reducing biodiversity. It is important to use proper grazing management practices to prevent overgrazing and to maintain a healthy ecosystem.

In areas where Compact Brome Grass is invasive, it can be difficult to control. Herbicides can be effective but must be used with caution to avoid harming non-target plant species. Mechanical removal, such as mowing or tillage, can also be effective but must be repeated over several years to completely remove the grass.

Compact Brome Grass is a valuable forage crop that can provide high-quality feed for livestock and improve soil health. However, its invasive nature can have negative impacts on native plant species and biodiversity. Proper management practices, including responsible grazing management and control measures, are necessary to ensure the sustainability of this grass species in both agricultural and natural ecosystems.

More Information

Compact Brome Grass, also known as Madrileña Brome, is a highly adaptable grass species that can grow in a wide range of environmental conditions. It can tolerate both cold and warm temperatures and is known for its drought tolerance, making it a popular choice for farmers and ranchers in areas with unpredictable weather patterns. In addition, it has a high tolerance for grazing and can quickly recover from defoliation.

One of the challenges of managing Compact Brome Grass is its ability to spread rapidly through seed dispersal. This grass species can produce a large number of seeds that are easily spread by wind and other natural factors, making it difficult to control its spread. As a result, it is important to monitor its growth and implement control measures as necessary to prevent it from becoming invasive.

Invasive species can have significant impacts on the environment, including reducing biodiversity, altering ecosystem functions, and disrupting natural processes. Compact Brome Grass, in particular, can outcompete native plant species and reduce the availability of resources for other organisms, such as pollinators and herbivores. Therefore, it is important to manage its growth and prevent its spread to protect the natural environment.

Despite its invasive potential, Compact Brome Grass can be a valuable addition to agricultural and restoration projects when managed properly. It is a highly productive grass species that can provide a source of forage for livestock and improve soil health. However, it is important to balance its benefits with the potential risks and to use responsible management practices to ensure the sustainability of this grass species.

In addition to its use as a forage crop, Compact Brome Grass has been studied for its potential as a biofuel feedstock. This grass species has a high cellulose content, which can be converted into biofuels such as ethanol and butanol. As a result, it has the potential to provide an alternative source of energy while also contributing to sustainable agriculture practices.

Another benefit of Compact Brome Grass is its ability to improve soil health. This grass species has a deep root system that can help to improve soil structure and reduce erosion. It can also increase soil organic matter, which can improve nutrient availability and water holding capacity. In addition, its ability to tolerate low soil fertility can make it a useful crop in areas with poor soil quality.

When establishing Compact Brome Grass, it is important to choose the appropriate cultivar for the local growing conditions. There are several cultivars available that vary in their adaptation to different soil types, climates, and management practices. In addition, proper soil preparation and weed control can help to ensure successful establishment and growth.

Overall, Compact Brome Grass is a versatile grass species with many potential benefits for both agricultural and environmental applications. Its ability to provide a source of forage for livestock, improve soil health, and potentially contribute to biofuel production make it a valuable addition to sustainable agriculture practices. However, it is important to carefully manage its growth and prevent its spread to protect native plant species and biodiversity.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

Click to open an Interactive Map