Nodding Brome

    Nodding Brome

    Common Name(s):

    Nodding Brome

    Scientific Name:

    Bromus anomalus Rupr. ex Fourn.

    Scientific Name Synonyms:

    Bromopsis anomala (Rupr. ex Fourn.) Holub




    Life Span: Perennial

    Origin: Native

    Season: Cool

    Growth Characteristics: A tall, erect bunchgrass, without rhizomes, growing 1 ½ to 2 ½ feet tall. The nodes are hairy.

    Flowers: Open, nodding panicle, 4 to 8 inches long. Panicle braches drooping, 2 to 3 branches per node. The spikelets are somewhat rounded, about 1 ¼ inch long, containing 5 to 10 florets at ends of slender branches. The glumes are hairy; the lemmas are broad and silky-haired with an awn about 1/8 inch long from between bifid apex.

    Leaves: Leaves are rolled in the bud-shoot. The sheath is closed to near the top in younger leaves and split in older ones. The sheaths are round, prominently veined, with hairs running backward along it, giving it a rough feel. The collar is indistinct, auricles are absent, ligule is membranous, squared-off, brownish, with an uneven jagged edge, up to 1 mm. long. Blade is up to ¼ inch wide, and up to 16 inches long. The blades are flat, prominently veined and rough on both surfaces, often hairy above; margins rough as well.

    Ecological Adaptions:

    When it is nearing maturity, nodding brome is one of the more beautiful mountain grasses. It is generally distributed throughout Utah’s high mountains and some mountain sites on nearly all exposures, but is found primarily on the cool north and east exposures. Its elevation range is from 6,000 to 12,000 feet where annual average rainfall is from 16 to 30 inches.

    Soils: Nodding brome prefers deep, well developed loams and clay loam, but will grow on sands and even coarse gravelly and stony soils.

    Associated Species: Bluegrasses, silver sagebrush, aspen, cinquefoil, snowberry, delphinium, and penstemon.

    Uses and Management:

    Nodding brome is a preferred forage plant by cattle and elk, and is rated as good forage for deer and sheep. Several species of small mammals harvest and store these seeds for food. It is a fair to good erosion control plant. Its graceful, nodding seedheads make it an unusually attractive plant for beautification and recreation area plantings.

    This is a grass which requires fairly careful management, implying use at not more than about 50 percent of the annual forage yield. It responds well to an occasional rest from grazing during the critical seedstock formation to seed ripening period.