Bromegrass

 

Bromus is a large genus of the Grass Family (Poaceae). Estimates in the

scientific literature of the number of species have ranged from 100 to 400,

but plant taxonomists currently recognize around 160–170 species. They

are commonly known as bromes, brome grasses, cheat grasses or chess

grasses. Genus Bromus specimens have been observed in Sky Meadows

State Park; however, the specific species had been identified.

 

Bromus species occur in many habitats in temperate regions of the world, including America, Eurasia, Australia, and Africa. There are considerable morphological differences between some species, while the morphological differences between others (usually those species that are closely related)

are subtle and difficult to distinguish. As such, the taxonomy of the genus

is complicated.

 

Bromus species are generally considered to have little economic value to

humans. The Tarahumara Indians in northern Mexico use the grains of

some native Bromus species to aid fermentation in making one of their

cultural beverages. As names like poverty brome (Bromus sterilis) and

ripgut brome (Bromus diandrus) attest, some species are not very useful

as fodder because their leaves sclerotize quickly and may even be harmful

to livestock due to the high silica content. Others, such as meadow brome

(Bromus riparius), native to parts of Russia, are planted as forage in the

Great Plains of North America. Brome grasses are not usually grown as ornamental plants due to most species' nondescript appearance. Some are

useful to prevent erosion but such use must be cautiously controlled as

most Bromus have the ability to spread, becoming invasive weeds. Cheat-

grass (Bromus tectorum) is a particularly troublesome weed across much

of western North America (from southern British Columbia to California.)

 

The caterpillars of some Lepidoptera use Bromus as a foodplant, such as

the chequered skipper (Carterocephalus palaemon).

 

 

Back to Inventory of Grass Families and Species

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