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Stiff Brome Grass

Anisantha rigida

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, 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 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, sand dunes, seaside, wasteland.

Green, no petals
A stiff-looking grass with long, spiky awns. Flowers are green and sometimes tinted purple. The spikelets are longer (up to 3.5cm) than the similar-looking Compact Brome (Anisantha madritensis).
The fruit is a caryopsis. This is a kind of dry, one-seeded fruit common to all grasses.
Linear leaves. Slightly hairy and with smooth edges.
Other Names:
Brome Grass, Great Brome, Rigid Brome, Ripgut Brome, Ripgut Grass, Stiff Brome.
Frequency (UK):

Similar Species

Other Information


Anisantha rigida, also known as stiff brome, is a species of grass in the genus Anisantha. It is native to Europe and Asia and 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 and 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 is often found in dry and disturbed habitats, such as roadsides and wastelands. It can also be a problem in pasture and other grassland areas. Due to its ability to adapt to a wide range of conditions, the seed production rate and germination, it is considered a high-density weed. 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. Control measures are important to prevent its spread and potential negative impact on native plant communities and ecosystems.


Stiff Brome Grass, or Anisantha rigida, is a perennial grass species that is native to Europe and Western Asia. It was introduced to North America as a forage crop in the late 1800s and has since become a problematic invasive species in many areas.


Stiff Brome Grass can grow up to 3 feet tall and has stiff, erect stems that are often reddish-brown in color. The leaves are narrow and can grow up to 8 inches long. The seed heads are compact and spike-like, with each spike containing numerous small, yellowish-green flowers.

Invasive Characteristics

Stiff Brome Grass is highly adaptable and can grow in a wide range of soil types and environmental conditions. It is commonly found in disturbed areas such as roadsides, fields, and pastures, and can also invade natural habitats such as prairies and woodlands. It is particularly successful in areas that have been disturbed by human activity or natural events such as fire or flooding.

Stiff Brome Grass is highly competitive and can quickly outcompete native plant species, reducing biodiversity and altering ecosystem function. It is also highly resistant to herbicides and difficult to control once established.

Ecological Impacts

Stiff Brome Grass can have a number of negative ecological impacts, including:
  • Reduced biodiversity: Stiff Brome Grass can outcompete native plant species, reducing biodiversity and altering ecosystem function.
  • Altered nutrient cycling: Stiff Brome Grass can alter nutrient cycling in ecosystems, leading to changes in soil nutrient levels and potentially affecting the growth of other plant species.
  • Reduced habitat quality: Stiff Brome Grass can alter habitat structure and quality, potentially reducing the suitability of the area for native wildlife species.

Control Measures

Preventing the spread of Stiff Brome Grass is the best way to control its spread. This can be achieved by:

  • Using clean seed and planting materials: Ensure that seed and planting materials are free from Stiff Brome Grass seeds.
  • Maintaining healthy ecosystems: Healthy ecosystems are less likely to be invaded by Stiff Brome Grass. Maintaining diverse plant communities and avoiding disturbances can help to prevent invasion.
  • Manual removal: Small infestations can be removed manually by digging out the plants and roots. Care must be taken to remove all root fragments to prevent regrowth.
  • Chemical control: Chemical control can be effective, but care must be taken to use the appropriate herbicides and application methods to avoid harm to non-target species.
Stiff Brome Grass is a problematic invasive species that can have negative ecological impacts. Preventing the spread of the species is the best approach to controlling its invasion. If you suspect an infestation of Stiff Brome Grass, contact your local invasive species control agency for assistance.

More Information

Stiff Brome Grass has been listed as a noxious weed in some states in the United States and is considered an invasive species in many countries around the world. Its ability to outcompete native plant species and alter ecosystem function makes it a significant threat to biodiversity and ecosystem health.

In addition to the ecological impacts, Stiff Brome Grass can also have economic impacts. Its ability to invade and dominate agricultural land can reduce crop yields and quality, resulting in economic losses for farmers and ranchers.

One of the challenges of controlling Stiff Brome Grass is its ability to spread quickly and establish dense stands. This makes it difficult to eradicate once it has become established. Therefore, prevention is key to controlling its spread.

One way to prevent the spread of Stiff Brome Grass is to avoid planting it as a forage crop or using contaminated seed. It is important to only use certified seed and to ensure that it is free from Stiff Brome Grass seeds before planting.

In addition, land management practices can play a role in preventing the spread of Stiff Brome Grass. Avoiding disturbances that can create opportunities for invasion, such as overgrazing, fire, or soil disturbance, can help to maintain healthy ecosystems that are less likely to be invaded by Stiff Brome Grass.

Early detection and rapid response are also important in controlling the spread of Stiff Brome Grass. Monitoring for signs of invasion and taking action to control small infestations can help prevent the establishment of large, dense stands that are more difficult to control.

Chemical control can be effective in controlling Stiff Brome Grass, but it must be used with care to avoid harming non-target species. Herbicides that are effective against Stiff Brome Grass may also harm desirable plant species, so it is important to use the appropriate herbicide and application method for the specific situation.

In summary, preventing the spread of Stiff Brome Grass is the most effective way to control its invasion. This can be achieved through a combination of prevention, land management practices, early detection and rapid response, and targeted herbicide use. By working together, we can protect our native ecosystems from the negative impacts of invasive species like Stiff Brome Grass.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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