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False Brome Grass

Brachypodium sylvaticum

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 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:
180 centimetres tall
Cliffs, grassland, hedgerows, roadsides, scrub, woodland.

Green, no petals
The nodding flower spikes measure up to 20cm long (9 inches). The multi-flowered spikelets are slender, drooping and very short stalked. The awns of the flowers are a maximum of 1.5cm long.
The fruit of the False Brome is a caryopsis. A caryopsis is a type of dry, one-seeded fruit.
A very common woodland, perennial grass. The colour of the leaves vary from dark green to yellowish-green. They measure up to 12mm wide and have hairy margins. The sheaths are usually hairy. Blunt ligules, up to 6mm long. Auricles are absent.
Other Names:
False Brome, Slender False Brome, Wood Brome, Wood False Brome.
Frequency (UK):

Similar Species

Other Information


Brachypodium sylvaticum, commonly known as False Brome or Wood Brome, is a species of perennial grass in the genus Brachypodium. It is native to Europe and Asia and is commonly found in woodlands, forest edges, and rocky or gravelly areas. It forms dense clumps of narrow leaves and can grow to a height of up to 1.8 meters tall. The plant produces spikes of small, greenish-brown flowers in the summer.

False Brome is a common plant in many forested areas and is often found growing in association with other woodland plants such as wildflowers, ferns and shrubs. It is known for its shade tolerance and can form large stands in woodlands under closed canopy. Although it is not considered a noxious weed species, it may become invasive in some areas, spreading rapidly and outcompeting native plants. As such it should be carefully managed in some ecosystems. However, it has been used as a bioindicator species to monitor air and soil quality in forested areas.


False Brome Grass, also known as Brachypodium sylvaticum, is a perennial grass species that is native to Europe and western Asia. This species has been introduced to North America, where it has become invasive in many areas. False Brome Grass is a serious threat to native plant communities, and it can have negative impacts on wildlife as well.


False Brome Grass is a tall, upright grass that can reach heights of up to six feet. It has flat, narrow leaves that are dark green in color, and its stems are smooth and hollow. The plant produces a large number of seed heads, which are spike-like structures that contain many small, brown seeds.

Invasive Characteristics

False Brome Grass is a highly competitive species that is able to outcompete many native plants for resources. It is able to tolerate a wide range of soil types and conditions, and it is particularly well adapted to areas that have been disturbed or degraded by human activities. Once established, False Brome Grass can form dense monocultures that exclude other plant species and reduce biodiversity.

Ecological Impacts

False Brome Grass has a number of negative impacts on the environment. Because it is able to outcompete native plants, it can reduce biodiversity in the areas where it grows. This can have negative impacts on wildlife, as many species rely on native plant communities for food and habitat. False Brome Grass can also alter soil conditions, making it more difficult for other plant species to grow.

Control Measures

Controlling False Brome Grass can be challenging, as it is a highly competitive species that is able to regenerate from small fragments of its root system. However, there are a number of control measures that can be effective in managing this invasive species. These include:

  1. Mechanical Control: This involves physically removing the plants or cutting them back. This method can be effective, but it must be repeated regularly to prevent the plants from regrowing.

  2. Herbicides: Chemical herbicides can be effective in controlling False Brome Grass, but they must be used carefully to avoid damaging other plant species.

  3. Biological Control: This involves using natural enemies, such as insects or fungi, to control the spread of the invasive species. While this method can be effective, it can also have unintended consequences if the introduced species begins to impact non-target species.

More Information about False Brome Grass

False Brome Grass is a highly invasive species that poses a serious threat to native plant communities and biodiversity. While controlling this species can be challenging, there are a number of effective control measures that can be used to manage its spread. It is important that land managers and homeowners take action to control the spread of False Brome Grass in order to protect our natural resources and the environment.

False Brome Grass, also known as Brachypodium sylvaticum, is an aggressive invasive plant species that can be found in a variety of habitats including grasslands, forests, and wetlands. This plant species is well adapted to disturbed areas and can quickly colonize open areas such as abandoned fields, roadways, and construction sites. The following are some additional information about False Brome Grass:

Life Cycle

False Brome Grass is a perennial plant species that reproduces both vegetatively and sexually. It produces a large number of seeds that can remain viable in the soil for several years. Additionally, False Brome Grass has an extensive root system that can send out rhizomes, allowing it to spread quickly.


False Brome Grass can be identified by its tall, upright stems, flat, narrow leaves, and spike-like seed heads that contain many small, brown seeds. The stems of this plant are smooth and hollow, and it can grow up to six feet tall. It is important to properly identify False Brome Grass in order to prevent it from being confused with native grass species.


False Brome Grass can have negative impacts on the environment, including reducing biodiversity, altering soil conditions, and changing ecosystem processes. This plant species can outcompete native plant species for resources, leading to reduced habitat for wildlife. Additionally, False Brome Grass can alter soil nutrient levels, reducing the ability of other plant species to grow in the area.


Effective management of False Brome Grass involves a combination of methods, including mechanical control, chemical control, and biological control. It is important to carefully select the appropriate control method based on the size and location of the infestation, as well as the presence of non-target species. It is also important to prevent the spread of False Brome Grass by removing seeds and fragments of the plant from clothing, vehicles, and equipment.

False Brome Grass is a highly invasive plant species that can have serious negative impacts on the environment. Effective management of this species is critical to protect native plant communities and wildlife habitats. It is important to take action to control the spread of False Brome Grass and prevent its introduction to new areas.

And Finally...

False Brome Grass is known for its ability to rapidly spread and dominate disturbed areas. This invasive species can significantly alter ecosystem processes, and its impacts can be felt across a variety of ecological scales. Here are some additional facts about False Brome Grass:

  • False Brome Grass has been found to be toxic to livestock, particularly horses. The consumption of False Brome Grass by livestock can lead to a neurological condition known as "staggers", which can be fatal.

  • False Brome Grass can be difficult to control once it has become established, as it can regenerate from small fragments of its root system. It is important to catch infestations early and implement control measures as soon as possible.

  • False Brome Grass is not considered a major agricultural pest, as it does not have a significant impact on crop production. However, it can reduce the productivity of grazing lands by outcompeting desirable forage species.

  • False Brome Grass has been identified as a potential biofuel crop, as it produces large amounts of biomass and can be grown on marginal lands. However, caution must be taken to prevent its spread to non-target areas.

  • False Brome Grass is not the only invasive species in the Brachypodium genus. Brachypodium distachyon, also known as purple false brome, is another invasive species that is becoming increasingly common in the United States.

Overall, False Brome Grass is a highly invasive plant species that poses a serious threat to native plant communities and biodiversity. Effective management and control measures are necessary to prevent its spread and protect our natural resources. It is important to educate ourselves about invasive species and take action to prevent their introduction and spread.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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