Barren Brome

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A common grass of hedgerows and roadsides having drooping oat-like spikelets.


 

 

The classic and rather lovely falling tassels of oat-like flowers makes barren brome (Anisantha sterilis) one of the more distinctive grasses of our hedgerows and roadsides.  It is quite common and readily occurs in suitable habitat flowering from May until July. The leaves are long and narrow, are a bluish/green colour and hairy whereas the main stem of the plant is smooth.

As well as being called barren brome it is also known as sterile brome (the Latin name is sterilis) and poverty brome but I am at a loss as to why it bears these names because the plant is self-pollinating and produces ripe seeds. If it is barren or sterile that would imply that it would not have ripe seeds would it not? Anyone who can shed light on this please let me know.

Growing between sea level and 365 meters it can be an invasive species in the wrong place and in some quarters it is deemed an obnoxious weed which seems a shame for a rather elegant grass.


 

 

Common Name Barren Brome
Scientific Name Anisantha sterilis
Interest Level
2/5
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