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Plant Profile  
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Common Name: Downy Brome

Other Names: Cheatgrass, Military Grass, Early Chess, Thatch Bromegrass

Species Name: Bromus tectorum L.

Plant Type: Grasses & Grass-like

Family Name: Poaceae





Plant Facts  
Origin Europe
Duration Winter Annual
Season Cool
Distribution in the U.S. NE, SD, ND, KA, OK, TX, MN, IA, MO, MT, WY, CO, NM, AB, SK, MB
Distribution in Oklahoma Western Oklahoma



ID Characteristics

  • Field Identification Characteristics
    • Inflorescence: Panicle (5-15 centimeters long), open, much-branched; branches and pedicels slender, flexuous drooping
    • Spikelet: Florets 5-8 (1.2-1.8 centimeters long excluding awns); lemmas (0.9-1.2 centimeters long) with thin membranous margins and ending in long, slender teeth (2-3 millimeters long); lemmas with soft “downy” hairs, awned
    • Floral: Generally has nodding inflorescence; iconic, long, prominent awns
    • Vegetative: Thin, wiry branches; closed sheath
  • Leaf and Stem Characteristics
    • Sheath: Rough, flattened toward collar, softly hairy, pilose
    • Blade: Flat (5-12 centimeters long, 3-7 millimeters wide), rounded to truncate, may be toothed
    • Culm: Upright weak, may be branched from the base
    • Plant Height: 15-60 centimeters
    • Lingule Type: Membranous
    • Leaves: Cauline
  • Floral Characteristics
    • Inflorescence Type: Panicle
    • Florets Per Spikelet: 4-6
    • Glumes: Unequal



Soil Type Varying, preferred coarse textured soils
Habitat Throughout the Great Plains on rangeland, fields, disturbed sites, roadsides and waste areas
Successional Stage Early, but invades all stages


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