South Dakota Native Plant Research
Poaceae: Bromus tectorum

Poaceae: Bromus tectorum


Download Mature plants (6.8 MB)

Download Leaves and stems (2.8 MB)

Download Ligule (1.8 MB)

Download Spikelets (4.4 MB)

Family Name


Common Name

Cheatgrass, Downy brome


Bromus tectorum is an annual grass with hollow, erect to ascending stems, 20-60 cm tall, with many soft white hairs on the lower leaves and stems and fewer hairs toward the top. The leaf blades are flat, 1-19 cm long and 1-5 mm wide. The ligule is membranous, 2 to 5 mm long, jagged along the top edge. The inflorescence is a panicle, 4-20 cm long, nodding to one side with arching branches. The lower branches have up to 8 spikelets per branch, with the upper usually with only 1 or 2. The pedicellate spikelets are lance-elliptic, 10 to 25 mm long, with a long awn. The spikelets contain 4-7 florets and one or more of the terminal florets may be sterile. The fruit is a 1-seeded grain. Cheatgrass blooms in May and June in disturbed areas throughout South Dakota.

Additional Notes

Downy brome is an invasive species that should be removed when encountered.

Poaceae: Bromus tectorum