Bromus tectorum June-grass; downy chess; cheat Poaceae BRTE*p; Bx, sn; NY, bl; Q, fr, j, rb, tl; K, fl, lk, m, pl; R, cg, d, fk, sm, wp;

Bromus tectorum.redbuttercanyon.net.www.forestpests.org

Bromus tectorum.redbuttercanyon.net.www.forestpests.org (Accessed 11/2017).

Bromus tectorum winter or spring annual C3 grass (Williams et al. 2011), 20-70 cm tall, from fibrous roots to 30 cm deep, stems tufted, slender, often nodding, much branched, hairless; plant becoming wine-red as seeds ripen, then tan; lower sheaths hairy, upper sheaths smooth, ligule membranous, 0.1-0.2 cm long. 

Bromus tectorum stem. Joseph M. DiTomaso, University of California - Davis, Bugwood.org. licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial

Bromus tectorum stem. Joseph M. DiTomaso, University of California – Davis, Bugwood.org. licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial (Accessed 11/2017).

Leaves alternate, blades 0.2-0.4 cm wide, to 16 cm long, hairy. 

bromus-tectorum-cheatgrass06_30_05g-nicky-davis-wildutah-us

Bromus tectorum inflorescence cheatgrass06_30_05g.©Nicky Davis.Wild Utah.wildutah.us

Flower spikelets 1-2 cm long not including awns, hairy, 3-8 flowered, on slender stems; glumes needle-shaped, the first 0.5-0.7 cm, second 0.8-1.1 cm; lemma lance-shaped, hairy, 0.8-1.2 cm, awns 1-1.7 cm, arising from between apical teeth; inflorescence 10-20 cm long, openly branched, hairy, drooping, pale gray-green, becoming purplish; blooming and fruiting May-June; highly self fertile, little outcrossing, 

Wetland status: NL. 

Frequency in NYC: Occasional. Probably more common along roadsides than inventory indicates. 

Origin: Eurasia. 

Habitat: Frequently disturbed, open areas, roadsides, fill. Less common in natural areas. 

Bromus tectorum seeds. commons.wikimedia.org

Bromus tectorum seeds. commons.wikimedia.org (Accessed 11/2017).

Notes: Seeds dispersed by awns that attach to fur and clothing. Also dispersed short distances by wind and by human activity. Seeds in soil loose viability in about two years. Seeds usually germinate in autumn and overwinter as seedlings while continuing root growth. Dry plants very flammable, leaving soil vulnerable to erosion. Tends to prevent establishment of perennials by extracting soil moisture, shading and crowding. Tolerates infertile soils. Foliage may be eaten by mites (Acari) and thrips (Thysanoptera) but apparently is not a favored food of many invertebrates. Infected by Ustilago bulleta (head smut, Basidiomycotina), Puccinia recondita (leaf rust, Basidiomycotina) and Claviceps purpurea (ergot, Ascomycotina) (Upadhyaya et al. 1986). Very similar to B. sterilis.