Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Datasheet

Bromus madritensis
(compact brome)

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Datasheet

Bromus madritensis (compact brome)

Summary

  • Last modified
  • 06 November 2018
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Pest
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Bromus madritensis
  • Preferred Common Name
  • compact brome
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Plantae
  •     Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •       Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •         Class: Monocotyledonae
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    Compendia
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    Wallingford
    Oxfordshire
    OX10 8DE
    UK
    compend@cabi.org
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Identity

Top of page

Preferred Scientific Name

  • Bromus madritensis L.

Preferred Common Name

  • compact brome

Other Scientific Names

  • Anisantha madritensis (L.) Nevski
  • Festuca madritensis Desf.
  • Genea madritensis (L.) Dumort.

International Common Names

  • English: foxtail chess; Spanish brome; wall brome
  • French: brome de Madrid
  • Portuguese: espadana

Local Common Names

  • Finland: madridinkattara; nuokkukattara
  • Germany: Trespe, Mittelmeer-
  • Italy: forasacco dei muri

EPPO code

  • BROMA (Bromus madritensis)

Taxonomic Tree

Top of page
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Plantae
  •         Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •             Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •                 Class: Monocotyledonae
  •                     Order: Cyperales
  •                         Family: Poaceae
  •                             Genus: Bromus
  •                                 Species: Bromus madritensis

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

Top of page The synonym Anisantha madritensis (L.) Nevski has been used until quite recently in Europe (e.g., Stace, 1991), this genus name being applied to species otherwise included in Bromus sect. Genea Dumort., differing from Bromus sensu stricto in having spikelets almost straight-sided, widening towards the top, rather than ovate to lanceolate, and having glumes with only one to three veins.

Bromus madritensis and B. rubens are very closely related. They are treated as subspecies of B. madritensis by some systematists: the type species subsp. madritensis and red brome subsp. rubens (Wilken and Painter, 1993). Esnault (1984) described patterns of geographic variation in B. madritensis in Mediterranean Europe and northern Africa, providing evidence for intergradations between the two subspecies in their native ranges. Others treat them as distinct species (Kearney et al., 1960; Tutin et al., 1980; Welsh et al., 1987; Pavlik, 1995; Kartesz and Meacham, 1999; Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, 2004; USDA-ARS, 2004). For the purposes of this Compendium, data on B. madritensis and B. rubens are presented in separate species datasheets.

Description

Top of page B. madritensis is an annual; 15-45 cm tall with erect culms, unbranched above, 2-3 noded. Nodes glabrous; internodes hollow, glabrous, terete. Leaves alternate; ligules 1-3 mm long, lacerate; auricles absent; sheaths glabrous to soft-pubescent; blades linear, flat, 36-65 mm long, 1.5-4 mm wide, glabrous to soft-pubescent. Inflorescence an open to dense terminal panicle, 4-15 cm long. Spikelets 20-30 mm long, slightly compressed, composed of 3-8 florets, the glumes linear to narrowly lanceolate, the lower one 5-10 mm long, 1-nerved, the upper one 8-13 mm long, 3-nerved; lemmas 12-17 mm long, lanceolate, 3- to 5-nerved, the back keeled to rounded, the apex with a terminal awn 12-20 mm long and two lateral teeth 4-5 mm long. Disarticulating above the persistent glumes. Grain hairy at the tip, 8-12 mm long. Flowering from March to June. For further details see Hitchcock (1944), Maire (1955), Hubbard (1959), Munz (1959), Holmgren and Holmgren (1977), Smith (1980), Pavlik (1995), Wilken and Painter (1993), Weiller et al. (2005).

Distribution

Top of page The native distribution shown in the country list is based on data from the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (2004) and USDA-ARS (2004). In the USA, B. madritensis was established in California by 1848 (Frenkel, 1977) and appears to have been naturalized there by the 1890s (Maire, 1955; Burcham, 1957).

Distribution Table

Top of page

The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.

Continent/Country/RegionDistributionLast ReportedOriginFirst ReportedInvasiveReferenceNotes

Asia

AfghanistanPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2004
Georgia (Republic of)PresentJahandiez and Maire , 1931; Maire , 1955
IranPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2004
IraqPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2004
IsraelPresentNativePost , 1933; Zohary and Feinbrun-Dothan , 1966
JapanPresentIntroduced Not invasive Hitchcock , 1944; Gibbs and Russel et al. , 1955; Holmgren and Holmgren , 1977; Koyama , 1987; Kon and Blacklow , 1989; Arnold and de Wet , 1993
JordanPresentNativeZohary and Feinbrun-Dothan , 1966
LebanonPresentNativeMouterde, 1984; Post , 1933; Zohary and Feinbrun-Dothan , 1966
Saudi ArabiaPresentNative Not invasive Choudhary et al., 1981
SyriaPresentNativeMouterde, 1984; Post , 1933; Zohary and Feinbrun-Dothan , 1966
TurkeyPresentNativeJahandiez and Maire , 1931; Maire , 1955; Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, 2004

Africa

AlgeriaPresentNative Not invasive Jahandiez and Maire , 1931; Maire , 1955; Quezél and Santa , 1963
EgyptPresentNative Invasive Jahandiez and Maire , 1931; Post , 1933; Maire , 1955
LibyaPresentNative Not invasive Jahandiez and Maire , 1931; Maire , 1955; Ali et al., 1989
MoroccoPresentNative Not invasive Jahandiez and Maire , 1931; Maire , 1955; Valdes and et al. , 2002
South AfricaPresentIntroduced Invasive Hitchcock , 1944; Gibbs and Russel et al. , 1955; Holmgren and Holmgren , 1977; Arnold and de Wet , 1993
Spain
-Canary IslandsPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2004
TunisiaPresentNative Invasive Jahandiez and Maire , 1931; Maire , 1955

North America

CanadaPresentPresent based on regional distribution.
-British ColumbiaPresentIntroduced Invasive Hitchcock , 1944; Gibbs and Russel et al. , 1955; Holmgren and Holmgren , 1977; Arnold and de Wet , 1993
MexicoPresentIntroduced Invasive Hitchcock , 1944; Gibbs and Russel et al. , 1955; Holmgren and Holmgren , 1977; Arnold and de Wet , 1993
USAPresentIntroduced1800 Invasive Burcham , 1957
-ArizonaPresentIntroduced Invasive Barry , 1972; Amme and Pitschel , 1990
-CaliforniaPresentIntroduced1848 Invasive Watson , 1880; Parish and , 1920; Burcham , 1957; Frenkel , 1977; Junak and et al. , 1997
-HawaiiPresentIntroduced Invasive St John , 1973
-IdahoPresentIntroduced Invasive St John , 1973
-MarylandPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2004
-MichiganPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2004
-MississippiPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2004
-NevadaPresentIntroduced Invasive Beatley , 1966; Pavlik , 1995
-OregonPresentIntroduced Invasive Pavlik , 1995
-TexasPresentIntroduced Invasive St John , 1973
-UtahPresentIntroducedHitchcock , 1950
-VirginiaPresentIntroducedHitchcock , 1950
-WashingtonPresentIntroducedPavlik , 1995

Central America and Caribbean

British Virgin IslandsPresentIntroduced Invasive Tutin and et al. , 1980; Gleason and Cronquist , 1991; Stace , 1997; BONAP, 1998

South America

ChilePresentIntroduced Not invasive Holm et al., 1979

Europe

AlbaniaPresentNativeRoyal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, 2004; USDA-ARS, 2004
BulgariaPresentNativeRoyal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, 2004; USDA-ARS, 2004
CyprusPresentOsorio-Tafall and Seraphim , 1973; Meikle , 1985; Papastylianou , 1990
FrancePresentNativeJahandiez and Maire , 1931; Maire , 1955; Tutin and et al. , 1980; Guinochet and Vilmorin , 1984; Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, 2004
-CorsicaPresentNativeBouchard , 1978; Tutin and et al. , 1980; Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, 2004
GreecePresentNativeJahandiez and Maire , 1931; Maire , 1955; Strid , 1991; Strid and Tan , 1997; Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, 2004
-CretePresentNativeRoyal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, 2004; USDA-ARS, 2004
HungaryPresentJahandiez and Maire , 1931; Maire , 1955
IrelandPresentIntroducedRoyal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, 2004
ItalyPresentNativeJahandiez and Maire , 1931; Maire , 1955; Pignatti , 1982; Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, 2004
-SardiniaPresentNativeRoyal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, 2004; USDA-ARS, 2004
-SicilyPresentNativeRoyal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, 2004; USDA-ARS, 2004
MaltaPresentNativeJahandiez and Maire , 1931; Maire , 1955; Davis , 1988
PortugalPresentNativeCastroviejo, 1986; Jahandiez and Maire , 1931; Maire , 1955; Franco and Do Amara , 1971; Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, 2004
-AzoresPresentNativeJahandiez and Maire , 1931; Maire , 1955; Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, 2004
-MadeiraPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2004
RomaniaPresentJahandiez and Maire , 1931; Maire , 1955; Popescu and Sanda , 1998
SpainPresentNativeValdes et al., 1990; Jahandiez and Maire , 1931; Maire , 1955; Tutin and et al. , 1980; Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, 2004
-Balearic IslandsPresentNativeCastroviejo, 1986; Jahandiez and Maire , 1931; Maire , 1955; Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, 2004
UKPresentIntroducedTutin and et al. , 1980; Stace , 1997; Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, 2004
UkrainePresentNativeRoyal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, 2004; USDA-ARS, 2004
Yugoslavia (former)PresentNativeJahandiez and Maire , 1931; Maire , 1955; Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, 2004

Oceania

AustraliaPresentIntroduced Invasive Hitchcock , 1944; Gibbs and Russel et al. , 1955; Holmgren and Holmgren , 1977; Koyama , 1987; Kon and Blacklow , 1989; Arnold and de Wet , 1993
New ZealandPresentIntroduced1871Forde and Edgar, 1995

Habitat

Top of page The major species of the genus are native to the Mediterranean region and south-western Asia (Maire, 1955) where they occur from sea level to 1300 m on stony or sandy soils of cultivated fields and rangelands in arid to mesic shrub and steppe regions (Bor, 1968).

Where introduced, B. madritensis tends to occur in disturbed sites, roadsides, fallow fields and grazed pastures (Munz, 1959; Arnow, 1987; Wilken and Painter, 1993).

Habitat List

Top of page
CategorySub-CategoryHabitatPresenceStatus
Terrestrial
 
Terrestrial – ManagedCultivated / agricultural land Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Managed forests, plantations and orchards Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Disturbed areas Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Rail / roadsides Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Urban / peri-urban areas Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Terrestrial ‑ Natural / Semi-naturalNatural forests Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)

Hosts/Species Affected

Top of page B. madritensis is considered to be a noxious weed in agricultural and horticultural crops, including orchards and vineyards (Hamal et al., 2001). The main crops affected are wheat, barley and crops in rotation with cereals (sugarbeet, sunflower, faba bean, etc.; Taleb, 1997).

Growth Stages

Top of page Flowering stage, Post-harvest, Seedling stage, Vegetative growing stage

Biology and Ecology

Top of page Genetics

The chromosome number is 2n = 28 (Loon, 1974), the same as B. rubens.

Physiology and Phenology

B. madritensis germinates well under the winter temperature regime of southern California, USA (Ashby and Hellmers, 1955). Sunlight may enhance germination at higher temperatures.

The biology of B. madritensis is likely to be very similar to that of the closely related species B. rubens. More details can be found it the B. rubens datasheet.

Rainfall

Top of page
ParameterLower limitUpper limitDescription
Dry season duration08number of consecutive months with <40 mm rainfall
Mean annual rainfall250350mm; lower/upper limits

Notes on Natural Enemies

Top of page There is little information in the literature on natural enemies of B. madritensis. However, Beuve and Lapierre (1992) indicated the susceptibility of B. madritensis to Barley yellow dwarf virus RPV strain (BYDV-RPV).

Means of Movement and Dispersal

Top of page In general, propagation is by seed. Short-distance dispersal is aided by wind, which blows seeds along the ground until they settle in eddies behind shrubs or rocks or in depressions in the ground. Long-distance dispersal of B. madritensis is accomplished by seeds that lodge in animal fur and in loosely woven clothing, or contaminate grain.

Plant Trade

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Plant parts liable to carry the pest in trade/transportPest stagesBorne internallyBorne externallyVisibility of pest or symptoms
True seeds (inc. grain) seeds Yes Pest or symptoms usually visible to the naked eye

Impact Summary

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CategoryImpact
Animal/plant collections None
Animal/plant products None
Biodiversity (generally) Positive
Crop production Negative
Environment (generally) Positive
Fisheries / aquaculture None
Forestry production None
Human health None
Livestock production Negative
Native fauna None
Native flora Negative
Rare/protected species None
Tourism None
Trade/international relations None
Transport/travel None

Impact

Top of page Bromus species are contaminants of grain and wool, they damage animal hides and can host serious cereal diseases. In pastures, the seeds penetrate eyes, mouths and feet of animals and working dogs.

In Morocco, five species of Bromus (B. rigidus, B. rubens, B. sterilis, B. madritensis and B. mollis) are causing problems in wheat in the Sais area: 17% of fields were slightly infested (density of Bromus (Dbr) < 90 plants/m²), 61% were moderately infested (90 < Dbr < 290 plants/m²) and 22% were highly infested (Dbr > 400 plants/m²) (Hamal et al., 2001).

Although B. madritensis is sometimes grazed by livestock, it is not considered a good forage plant and is generally regarded as having no economic value (Bor, 1968). Dried florets become entangled in wool, reducing its value, and lodge in the digestive tracts of some livestock, sometimes causing death.

The importance of Bromus species has increased in some areas where the frequency of cropping has increased and other grasses have been controlled by herbicides.

Threatened Species

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Threatened SpeciesConservation StatusWhere ThreatenedMechanismReferencesNotes
Grindelia fraxinipratensis (ash meadows gumplant)NatureServe NatureServe; USA ESA listing as threatened species USA ESA listing as threatened speciesCalifornia; NevadaEcosystem change / habitat alterationUS Fish and Wildlife Service, 2007a
Pseudobahia bahiifolia (Hartweg's golden sunburst)NatureServe NatureServe; USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered speciesCaliforniaCompetition - stranglingUS Fish and Wildlife Service, 2007b
Sibara filifolia (Santra Cruz Island Rockcress)USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered speciesCaliforniaCompetition - monopolizing resourcesUS Fish and Wildlife Service, 2006
Sidalcea keckii (Keck's checker-mallow)USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered speciesCaliforniaCompetition - monopolizing resourcesUS Fish and Wildlife Service, 2008
Speyeria callippe callippe (callippe silverspot butterfly)USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered speciesCaliforniaEcosystem change / habitat alterationUS Fish and Wildlife Service, 2009

Risk and Impact Factors

Top of page Invasiveness
  • Proved invasive outside its native range
  • Highly adaptable to different environments
  • Highly mobile locally
  • Has high reproductive potential
  • Has propagules that can remain viable for more than one year
Impact outcomes
  • Ecosystem change/ habitat alteration
  • Negatively impacts agriculture
  • Negatively impacts animal health
Impact mechanisms
  • Competition - monopolizing resources
  • Competition - strangling
  • Pest and disease transmission

Similarities to Other Species/Conditions

Top of page B. madritensis can be confused with other species of the genus at the seedling stage, and particularly with B. rubens at all developmental stages. B. madritensis has glabrous to slightly pubescent sheaths and stems, and the inflorescences are slightly open and oblong to ovoid. B. rubens has pubescent sheaths and stems, and the inflorescence is dense and ovoid. Stace (1991) indicates that they also differ in lemma length (9-15 mm in R. rubens compared with 12-20 mm in B. madritensis) and in the number of sterile apical florets (at least three in B. rubens, only one to two in B. madritensis).

Prevention and Control

Top of page

Due to the variable regulations around (de)registration of pesticides, your national list of registered pesticides or relevant authority should be consulted to determine which products are legally allowed for use in your country when considering chemical control. Pesticides should always be used in a lawful manner, consistent with the product's label.

Cultural Control

Livestock grazing may be used in lieu of hand pulling. Unfortunately, desirable native species may be eaten as well, and alterations to the soil caused by livestock may promote further establishment of B. madritensis

Mechanical Control

Removal of weeds, especially annuals, can be accomplished by hand-pulling or hoeing (Lorenzi and Jeffery, 1987). Plants will not reach maturity if the seedlings are uprooted. This repetitive task is time consuming, especially since seeds of B. madritensis germinate from autumn to spring.

Chemical Control

Some details of chemical control are included in the datasheet on the closely related species B. rubens.

References

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Ali SI, Jafri SMH, El Gadi A, 1989. Flora of Libya. Tripoli, Libya: Al Faateh University.

Amme D, Pitschel BM, 1990. Restoration and management of California’s grassland habitats. In: Hughes HG, Bonnicksen TM, eds. Restoration `89: the new management challenge. Proceedings, 1st annual meeting of the Society for Ecological Restoration; 1989 January 16-20; Oakland, CA. Madison, WI: The University of Wisconsin Arboretum, Society for Ecological Restoration, 532-542.

Arnold TH, de Wet BC, 1993. Plants of southern Africa: names and distribution. Memoirs of the Botanical Survey of South Africa, No. 62. Pretoria, Republic of South Africa: Botanical Research Institute.

Arnow L, 1987. Gramineae. In: Welsh et al., eds. A Utah Flora. Great Basin Naturalist Memoirs 9, 684-788.

Ashby WC, Hellmers H, 1955. Temperature requirements for germination in relation to wild-land seeding. Journal of Range Management, 8:80-83.

Barry WJ, 1972. The Central Valley Prairie. Vol 1. Sacramento, CA, USA: State of California, Department of Parks and Recreation.

Beatley JC, 1966. Ecological status of introduced brome grasses (Bromus spp.) in desert vegetation of southern Nevada. Ecology, 47(4):548-554.

Beuve M, Lapierre H, 1992. Resistance to RPV barley yellow dwarf virus in the genus Bromus. Canadian Journal of Botany, 70(1):32-37

BONAP, 1998. A Synonymized Checklist of the Vascular Flora of the United States, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. A database interface. Provided by TAMU-BWG; Texas A & M Bioinformatics Working Group. Based on Biota of North America Program. http://www.csdl.tamu.edu/FLORA/b98/check98.htm.

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US Fish and Wildlife Service, 2007. In: Ash Meadows Gumplant (Grindelia fraxino-pratensis). Five-year Review: Summary and Evaluation. US Fish and Wildlife Service, 22 pp. http://ecos.fws.gov/docs/five_year_review/doc1865.pdf

US Fish and Wildlife Service, 2007. In: Pseudobahia bahiifolia (Hartweg's golden sunburst), Pseudobahia peirsonii (San Joaquin adobe sunburst). 5-Year Review: Summary and Evaluation. US Fish and Wildlife Service, 23 pp.

US Fish and Wildlife Service, 2008. In: Keck's Checkermallow (Sidalcea keckii). 5-Year Review: Summary and Evaluation. US Fish and Wildlife Service, 13 pp.

US Fish and Wildlife Service, 2009. In: Callippe Silverspot Butterfly (Speyeria callippe callippe). 5-Year Review: Summary and Evaluation. US Fish and Wildlife Service, 29 pp.

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