Pest Profile

Downy Brome
Bromus tectorum

Pest Description

  • Weed Description: A summer or winter annual with densely hairy leaves and sheaths and drooping seedheads when mature. Downy brome is primarily a weed of landscapes, fencerows, pastures, hay fields, and occasionally winter small grain crops. Downy brome is found throughout the United States except in the extreme southeast.
  • Leaves: The leaves are rolled in the shoot and are densely soft hairy on both surfaces. Leaves lack auricles and have a membranous ligule that is approximately 1 1/2 to 3 mm long and may be toothed or fringed with hairs near the top. Leaf blades are approximately 5 to 10 mm wide.
  • Stems: Sheaths are round and also densely hairy.
  • Flowers: The seedhead is a soft drooping panicle that is often purple-tinged. Individual spikelets are approximately 10 to 18 mm long.
  • Identifying Characteristics: The densely hairy leaves and sheaths and drooping seedheads are all characteristics that help to distinguish downy brome from most other weeds. Cheat is very similar in appearance and growth habit, however cheat has mostly smooth leaves unlike those of downy brome.

(Missouri University - Weed Science, Division of Plant Science)

Pest photo source

Dr. Dallas Peterson, Agronomy, KSU