Japanese Brome (Bromus japonicus)

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Japanese brome is an annual grass that can reach 1 m in height. Stems are bent at baseand the nodes are swollen and brownish. Leaf blades are flat, covered with soft, distinct, thin hair, up to 20 cm in length, and 0.25 to 0.5 cm wide. Ligules are about 1.5 mm long, membranous and hairy with ragged edges and auricles are absent. Inflorescences have long branches and pedicels, are usually drooping to one side when mature, and each branch bears 1-5 spikelets at the tip. Spikelets are oval to lance oval shaped, and are 12 to 30 mm long the excluding awns. Awns are 8-10 mm long and straight to bent/twisted at maturity. First glumes are usually 3- to 5- nerved and second glumes are 5- to 9-nerved. Lemmas are broader at the upper-half, tapering to the bottom, with margins not strongly enrolled. All parts of the plant remain green while alive and then turn tan upon curing.

Key Identifiers
  • Stems are bent at base and nodes are swollen
  • Hairy leaves
  • Long awns bent and plant is tan color at maturity
Location in Canada
Japanese Brome occurs in all Canadian Provinces from British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, and Prince Edward Island.

Resources Similar species
Downy brome (Bromus tectorum) It is very difficult to distinguish the two bromes in the seedling stage, but Japanese brome tends to grow in wetter sites than downy brome. Downy brome has an open drooping panicle with long straight awns attached to the seed. Japanese brome has a panicle with the spikelets borne at the ends of long branches. Japanese brome seed is somewhat shorter than downy brome seed and has a twisted awn. Downy brome seed is a reddish color at maturity while Japanese brome is tan in color.

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For more information about the content of this document, contact Chris Neeser.
This document is maintained by Shelley Barkley.
This information published to the web on March 23, 2012.
Last Reviewed/Revised on August 21, 2018.