Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide


Bromus rigidus
(ripgut brome)



Bromus rigidus (ripgut brome)


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B. rigidus seedling.
CaptionB. rigidus seedling.
CopyrightAbdelkader Taleb
B. rigidus seedling.
SeedlingB. rigidus seedling.Abdelkader Taleb
B. rigidus infestation in a wheat crop.
CaptionB. rigidus infestation in a wheat crop.
CopyrightAbdelkader Taleb
B. rigidus infestation in a wheat crop.
InfestationB. rigidus infestation in a wheat crop.Abdelkader Taleb
B. rigidus infestation in a wheat crop.
CaptionB. rigidus infestation in a wheat crop.
CopyrightAbdelkader Taleb
B. rigidus infestation in a wheat crop.
InfestationB. rigidus infestation in a wheat crop.Abdelkader Taleb


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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Bromus rigidus Roth

Preferred Common Name

  • ripgut brome

Other Scientific Names

  • Anisantha diandra subsp. rigida (Roth) Tsvelev
  • Anisantha rigida (Roth) Hyl.
  • Bromus diandrus subsp. rigidus (Roth) Laínz
  • Bromus diandrus var. rigidus (Roth) Sales
  • Bromus maximus Desf.
  • Bromus villosus Forssk.

International Common Names

  • English: bronchograss; great brome; lesser bromegrass; rigid brome; ripgut bromegrass
  • Spanish: barba de macho
  • French: brome rigide
  • Portuguese: espadana; fura-capa

Local Common Names

  • Finland: villakattara
  • France: brome rougeatre
  • Germany: Steife Trespe
  • Italy: forasacco purpureo
  • Japan: higenagasuzumenochahiki

EPPO code

  • BRORI (Bromus rigidus)

Taxonomic Tree

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  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Plantae
  •         Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •             Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •                 Class: Monocotyledonae
  •                     Order: Cyperales
  •                         Family: Poaceae
  •                             Genus: Bromus
  •                                 Species: Bromus rigidus

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

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The synonym Anisantha rigida (Roth) Hyl. 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 rigidus and B. diandrus are very closely related. In the USA, they are considered as one species. B. rigidus is treated as a subspecies of B. diandrus by Tsvelev (1984) (but in the genus Anisantha, as A. diandra subsp. rigida) and O'Connor (1990). A modern re-assessment of the taxonomy and nomenclature of the annual taxa within the mainly Mediterranean/southwestern Asiatic Bromus section Genea is given by Sales (1993) in which B. sterilis, B. diandrus and B. rigidus are considered as varieties of one species while recognizing that they have often been treated as separate species in recent floras. For the purposes of this Compendium, these three taxa are covered by separate species datasheets.


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B. rigidus is an annual plant, 15-55 cm high. Pubescent stem; wide leaves with sparse hairs; ligule prominent, torn or membranous. Panicle erect, compact and 90-150 mm long in the short-awned biotype, 110-210 mm in the long-awned biotype. Spikelet branches shorter than spikelets. Spikelets 25-30 mm long with four to five florets. Glumes unequal. Lemmas 22-25 mm with dorsal awn 29-38 mm in the short-awned biotype, 50-78 mm in the long-awned biotype (Clapham et al., 1952; Maire, 1955; Cooper and Moerkerk, 2000; Weiller et al., 2004). The flowers are hermaphrodite and are pollinated by wind and cleistogamy. The plant is self-fertile.

Plant Type

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Grass / sedge
Seed propagated


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The native range was indicated by Maire (1955) as the Mediterranean region and Eurasia. Native records are based on USDA-ARS (2004; as Bromus diandrus var. rigidus) and Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (2004). Because B. rigidus is not normally distinguished from B. diandrus in the USA, there are few records that can be specifically attributed to B. rigidus.

B. diandrus and other awned Bromus spp. were widespread weeds in Australia by the mid-1800s, but it was not until 1986 that B. rigidus was reported (Cooper and Moerkerk, 2000). It is widely distributed across southern Australia, often growing unrecognized in association with B. diandrus (Kon and Blacklow, 1988). In the eastern part of its range in Australia there appears to be a continuum between typical B. diandrus and B. rigidus types (Cooper and Moerkerk, 2000).

Distribution Table

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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 Feb 2022
Continent/Country/Region Distribution Last Reported Origin First Reported Invasive Reference Notes


AlgeriaPresent, WidespreadNativeInvasive
South AfricaPresentIntroducedInvasive


JordanPresentNativeInvasiveOriginal citation: Cooper and Moerkerk (2000)
South KoreaPresentIntroducedOriginal citation: Cooper and Moerkerk (2000)
SyriaPresentNativeInvasiveOriginal citation: Cooper and Moerkerk (2000)


IrelandPresentIntroduced1996As: Anisantha rigida
NorwayPresentIntroduced1882As: Anisantha rigida
Serbia and MontenegroPresentNative
-Balearic IslandsPresentNative
-Canary IslandsPresentNativeOriginal citation: Scholz and Böcker (1996)
United KingdomPresentIntroduced1834As: Anisantha rigida

North America

British Virgin IslandsPresentIntroducedInvasiveOriginal citation: Gleason and Cronquist (1991)
CanadaPresentPresent based on regional distribution.
-British ColumbiaPresentIntroducedInvasive
United StatesPresentIntroduced
-CaliforniaPresentIntroducedOriginal citation: Jain (1982)


-South AustraliaPresentIntroduced
-VictoriaPresentIntroducedOriginal citation: Cooper and Moerkerk (2000)
-Western AustraliaPresentIntroduced
New ZealandPresentIntroducedOriginal citation: Cooper and Moerkerk (2000)

South America



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In its native area, B. rigidus is mainly a plant of roadsides, waste places and sand dunes but it has also recently become a weed of shallowly cultivated crop land in both its native and introduced range. B. rigidus is most common in areas with a Mediterranean climate of mild, wet winters and hot, dry summers (Cooper and Moerkerk, 2000). It requires well-drained soil and can tolerate drought. It can grow in nutritionally poor soil but does not favour shade. This species can tolerate strong winds but not maritime exposure.

Habitat List

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Terrestrial ManagedCultivated / agricultural land Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Terrestrial ManagedManaged forests, plantations and orchards Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Terrestrial ManagedDisturbed areas Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Terrestrial ManagedRail / roadsides Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Terrestrial ManagedUrban / 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

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B. rigidus is considered to be a noxious weed in agricultural and horticultural crops in the Mediterranean area (Taleb, 1997; Cooper and Moerkerk, 2000; Fenni, 2001; Hamal et al., 2001). The main crops affected are wheat, barley and crops in rotation with cereals (sugarbeet, sunflower, chickpea, faba bean and lentil) (Taleb, 1997).

Host Plants and Other Plants Affected

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Growth Stages

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Flowering stage, Post-harvest, Seedling stage, Vegetative growing stage

Biology and Ecology

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The chromosome number is 2n = 42 (Esnault and Huon, 1987). This compares with the very similar B. diandrus which is 2n = 56 (Kon and Blacklow, 1988).

Physiology and Phenology

Ungerminated seeds can remain viable in the surface soil for 2-3 years. Establishment is more rapid and uniform when seeds are incorporated into the soil but can be protracted when seeds emerge from variable depths of burial or have been left on the soil surface. Bromus spp. seeds germinated and emerged at a soil depth of 15 cm, but greater depths resulted in germination, but no emergence (Hamal et al., 1998).

Plant densities of Bromus species (including B. rigidus) in Morocco varied from 330 to 661 plants/m², with a maximum height of 102 cm and a leaf area index of 6. The net daily assimilation rate was 4 g/m² and daily growth rates varied from 3.2 to 7.7 g/m². Nitrogen content of leaves varied from 4.1 to 3.8% and the total protein content of seeds was 10.9%. The weight of 1000 kernels varied from 20 to 24 g (Hamal et al., 1998).

Reproductive Biology

B. rigidus germinates, grows and produces seeds during the winter, spring and early summer. In Australia, B. rigidus matured earlier than the similar species B. diandrus, but there was high genetic variation in the time of maturity of both species (Kon and Blacklow, 1988). Seed production can range from 600 to over 3000 seeds per plant (Cooper and Moerkerk, 2000) and 63-786 kg/ha (Hamal, 1993). The viability of stored seeds at 10°C was 38 months. Good germination of seeds stored for up to 6 years was observed in the dark at 20, 25 and 30°C (Fenni, 1995).

For further detail on the biology of B. rigidus (and B. diandrus), refer to Groves et al. (1995).


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ParameterLower limitUpper limitDescription
Mean annual rainfall250mm; lower/upper limits

Rainfall Regime

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Soil Tolerances

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Soil drainage

  • free

Soil reaction

  • alkaline

Soil texture

  • light
  • medium

Special soil tolerances

  • shallow

Notes on Natural Enemies

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Thesium humile var. maritima (Santalaceae) is a hemiparasite which attaches to a wide range of host plants, including B. rigidus (Abou-Raya et al., 1976).

Means of Movement and Dispersal

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In general, propagation is by seed. Long-distance dispersal could occur by contamination of crop seeds and forages, attachment to animals or transport in ship ballast (Cooper and Moerkerk, 2000).

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) weeds/seeds Yes Pest or symptoms usually visible to the naked eye

Impact Summary

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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


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B. rigidus is directly causing serious problems in cereal crops, with yield losses varying from 40 to 80% in Algeria and Morocco (Hamal, 1993). In Australia, B. rigidus and the closely related B. diandrus compete strongly with wheat. A density of 100 plants/m² of B. diandrus decreases wheat yield by 30% (Cooper and Moerkerk, 2000) and it is thought that B. rigidus is equally competitive.

In addition, Bromus species can host cereal diseases and are contaminants of grain and wool and they damage animal hides. In pastures, the sharply pointed base of the 'seeds' penetrate eyes, mouth and feet of animals and working dogs (Cooper and Moerkerk, 2000), hence the name 'ripgut brome'.

Threatened Species

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Threatened SpeciesConservation StatusWhere ThreatenedMechanismReferencesNotes
Poa mannii (Mann's bluegrass)CR (IUCN red list: Critically endangered); USA ESA listing as endangered speciesHawaiiCompetition - monopolizing resourcesUS Fish and Wildlife Service (2010a)
Schiedea apokremnos (Kauai schiedea)CR (IUCN red list: Critically endangered); USA ESA listing as endangered speciesHawaiiCompetition (unspecified)US Fish and Wildlife Service (2010b)

Risk and Impact Factors

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  • 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
  • Negatively impacts agriculture
  • Negatively impacts animal health
Impact mechanisms
  • Competition - monopolizing resources
  • Competition (unspecified)
  • Pest and disease transmission
Likelihood of entry/control
  • Highly likely to be transported internationally accidentally

Similarities to Other Species/Conditions

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All Bromus species are very similar at the seedling and vegetative stages. B. rigidus is particularly difficult to distinguish from B. diandrus at all development stages (Cooper and Moerkerk, 2000). It differs from B. diandrus in having shorter, sparser hairs on leaf laminae and more compact and erect panicles with shorter spikelet branches. In B. rigidus, the abscission scars on the rachillae are elliptical and the lemma calluses are elongated (>1 mm), whereas in B. diandrus, these characters were circular and short <1 mm) (Kon and Blacklow, 1988; Cooper and Moerkerk, 2000).

Prevention and Control

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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.

Mechanical Control

Deep tillage decreased B. rigidus germination (Hamal et al., 2001), whereas shallow tillage increased seedling emergence and subsequent seedbank decline (Gleichsner and Appleby, 1989).

Chemical Control

Good to moderate efficacy was obtained with sulfosulfuron under greenhouse and field conditions (Tanji, 2001). In Australia, incorporation of metribuzin alone or mixed with pendimethalin at the time of sowing gave reliable control of B. rigidus (Gill and Bowran, 1990). In Morocco, metribuzin also gave good to excellent control of B. rigidus (Saffour and Bouhache, 1996; Hamal et al., 1998); sulfosulfuron is registered for Bromus control and is applied post emergence giving excellent selectivity in wheat fields (Hamal et al., 2000).

A short-awned ecotype of B. rigidus from Western Australia had 30% residual innate dormancy and this, together with the earlier maturity of ecotypes of B. rigidus, could make it more difficult to control than B. diandrus when both species coexist in the field (Kon and Blacklow, 1988).


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CalEPPC, 1999. Exotic pest plant list. California Exotic Pest Plant Council, USA.

Cheam AH, Gill G, Zaicou C, 1992. Managing brome grass [Bromus diandrus and B. rigidus] in the wheat:lupin [Lupinus sp.] rotation. Journal of Agriculture, Western Australia, 33(3):95-99

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Hamal A, Benbella M, Msatef Y, Bouhache M, Rzozi SB, 1998. Biological aspects of Bromus rigidus Roth, a weed of cereals in Morocco. Mededelingen - Faculteit Landbouwkundige en Toegepaste Biologische Wetenschappen, Universiteit Gent, 63(3a):813-815.

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Distribution References

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

CABI, Undated. Compendium record. Wallingford, UK: CABI

CABI, Undated a. CABI Compendium: Status inferred from regional distribution. Wallingford, UK: CABI

CABI, Undated b. CABI Compendium: Status as determined by CABI editor. Wallingford, UK: CABI

CalEPPC, 1999. Exotic pest plant list., USA: California Exotic Pest Plant Council.

Holm L, Pancho J V, Herberger J P, Plucknett D L, 1979. A geographical atlas of world weeds. New York, Chichester (), Brisbane, Toronto, UK: John Wiley and Sons. xlix + 391 pp.

Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, 2004. Flora Europaea Database., Edinburgh, UK: Royal Botanic Garden.

Seebens H, Blackburn T M, Dyer E E, Genovesi P, Hulme P E, Jeschke J M, Pagad S, Pyšek P, Winter M, Arianoutsou M, Bacher S, Blasius B, Brundu G, Capinha C, Celesti-Grapow L, Dawson W, Dullinger S, Fuentes N, Jäger H, Kartesz J, Kenis M, Kreft H, Kühn I, Lenzner B, Liebhold A, Mosena A (et al), 2017. No saturation in the accumulation of alien species worldwide. Nature Communications. 8 (2), 14435.

USDA-ARS, 2004. Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Online Database. Beltsville, Maryland, USA: National Germplasm Resources Laboratory.

Links to Websites

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GISD/IASPMR: Invasive Alien Species Pathway Management Resource and DAISIE European Invasive Alien Species Gateway source for updated system data added to species habitat list.
Global register of Introduced and Invasive species (GRIIS) source for updated system data added to species habitat list.

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