Bromus madritensis (compact brome)
- Taxonomic Tree
- Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature
- Plant Type
- Distribution Table
- Habitat List
- Hosts/Species Affected
- Host Plants and Other Plants Affected
- Growth Stages
- Biology and Ecology
- Rainfall Regime
- Soil Tolerances
- Notes on Natural Enemies
- Means of Movement and Dispersal
- Plant Trade
- Impact Summary
- Threatened Species
- Risk and Impact Factors
- Similarities to Other Species/Conditions
- Prevention and Control
- Distribution Maps
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IdentityTop 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
- BROMA (Bromus madritensis)
Taxonomic TreeTop 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 NomenclatureTop 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.
DescriptionTop 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).
Plant TypeTop of page Annual
Grass / sedge
DistributionTop 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 TableTop 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.Last updated: 10 Jan 2020
HabitatTop 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 ListTop of page
|Terrestrial – Managed||Cultivated / 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-natural||Natural forests||Present, no further details||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
Hosts/Species AffectedTop 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).
Host Plants and Other Plants AffectedTop of page
Growth StagesTop of page Flowering stage, Post-harvest, Seedling stage, Vegetative growing stage
Biology and EcologyTop 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.
RainfallTop of page
|Parameter||Lower limit||Upper limit||Description|
|Dry season duration||0||8||number of consecutive months with <40 mm rainfall|
|Mean annual rainfall||250||350||mm; lower/upper limits|
Rainfall RegimeTop of page Winter
Soil TolerancesTop of page
Special soil tolerances
Notes on Natural EnemiesTop 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 DispersalTop 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 TradeTop of page
|Plant parts liable to carry the pest in trade/transport||Pest stages||Borne internally||Borne externally||Visibility of pest or symptoms|
|True seeds (inc. grain)||seeds||Yes||Pest or symptoms usually visible to the naked eye|
Impact SummaryTop of page
|Fisheries / aquaculture||None|
ImpactTop 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 SpeciesTop of page
|Threatened Species||Conservation Status||Where Threatened||Mechanism||References||Notes|
|Grindelia fraxinipratensis (ash meadows gumplant)||NatureServe; USA ESA listing as threatened species||California; Nevada||Ecosystem change / habitat alteration||US Fish and Wildlife Service, 2007a|
|Pseudobahia bahiifolia (Hartweg's golden sunburst)||NatureServe; USA ESA listing as endangered species||California||Competition - strangling||US Fish and Wildlife Service, 2007b|
|Sibara filifolia (Santra Cruz Island Rockcress)||USA ESA listing as endangered species||California||Competition - monopolizing resources||US Fish and Wildlife Service, 2006|
|Sidalcea keckii (Keck's checker-mallow)||USA ESA listing as endangered species||California||Competition - monopolizing resources||US Fish and Wildlife Service, 2008|
|Speyeria callippe callippe (callippe silverspot butterfly)||USA ESA listing as endangered species||California||Ecosystem change / habitat alteration||US Fish and Wildlife Service, 2009|
Risk and Impact FactorsTop 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
- Ecosystem change/ habitat alteration
- Negatively impacts agriculture
- Negatively impacts animal health
- Competition - monopolizing resources
- Competition - strangling
- Pest and disease transmission
Similarities to Other Species/ConditionsTop 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 ControlTop 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
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.
Some details of chemical control are included in the datasheet on the closely related species B. rubens.
ReferencesTop of page
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Distribution MapsTop of page
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