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SOFT BROME

SOFT-BROME

Bromus hordeaceus

Grasses Family [Poaceae]

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status
statusZnative
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inner
inner8white
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inner8purple
type
typeZspiked
stem
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stem8ribbed


Bromus hordaceus ssp. hordeaceus

8th Oct 2006, Afton Cliffs, IoW. Photo: (CC by 2.0) Mike Cotterill
Stems grow to 80cm., either erect or procumbent. Flower panicle either compact-ish or very compact with just a few or with many spikelets. Here many.


22nd June 2015, Lake, IoW. Photo: (CC by 2.0) Geoff Toone
Usually hairy (but then so are most other Bromes). the panicle is usually shorter than 10cm, but can occasionally be up to 16cm long.


22nd June 2015, Lake, IoW. Photo: (CC by 2.0) Geoff Toone
Awns (those long 'hairs' at the top of each spikelet) are straigh(ish) and between 4 to 11mm long but only 0.1mm wide at their base.


22nd June 2015, Lake, IoW. Photo: (CC by 2.0) Geoff Toone


22nd June 2015, Lake, IoW. Photo: (CC by 2.0) Geoff Toone
The lemmas (the end bract at the end of each spikelet) are 7.5 to 11mm long and 3 to 5mm wide. The tiny yellow (they turn brown later) items poking out are the styles.




One of the 5 sub-species

(possibly Bromus hordaceus ssp. hordeaceus?)

4th April 2019, Appley Bridge, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
It is probably mixed in with other species of grass here.


4th April 2019, Appley Bridge, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
Possibly 8 spikelets here, each with long(ish) straight(ish) awns. The stalks of each spikelet are shorter than the spikelets on all Soft Bromes.


4th April 2019, Appley Bridge, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
The stalks of each spikelet are shorter than the spikelets on all Soft Bromes.


4th April 2019, Appley Bridge, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
The bracts surrounding each spikelet have a broadish white border (at least on this specimen).


4th April 2019, Appley Bridge, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
The awns at the top of each spikelet are fairly long and reddish-purple.




Another sub-species

(possibly the [RR] Bromus hordaceus ssp. ferronii?)

9th Aug 2014, dunes, Hightown, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD


9th Aug 2014, dunes, Hightown, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD


9th Aug 2014, dunes, Hightown, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD


It is a grass which are easily confused with a plethora of many other grasses (poaceae).

Not to be confused with Broom (Cytisus scoparius) a bushy and much taller plant with yellow flowers.

Soft Brome exists as 5 slightly differing sub-species:

  • (Bromus hordeaceus ssp. hordeaceus) which is often much shorter than 80cm, with a panicle usually less than 10cm long, with between a few to many spikelets which often droop to one side when mature. The lemmas (being the outermost of two bracts at the end - and the only one to have an long and narrow awn [aka spike] at the tip) are usually hairy, 8 to 11mm long and 3 to 5mm wide with a more or less straight awn (which are hair-like points at the tip) 4 to 11mm long but only ~0.1mm wide at its base. This ssp. is native and found in amongst grass, on waysides or rough ground and frequently occurs throughout lowland Britain.
  • (Bromus hordeaceus ssp. molliformis) a non-native wool-alien casual neophyte which has stems up to 60cm high with a flower panicle less than 10cm long and with many stiffly-erect spikelets having very short branches and stalks. The hairy lemmas are 8 to 11mm long by 2.5 to 3.5mm wide with a 4-10mm awn which thickens to 0.2mm at the base and later curves outwards. Found in waste places and waysides.
  • (Bromus hordeaceus ssp. ferronii) [RR] which has much shorter stems to 15cm (up to 20cm); with a panicle of spikelets which is less than 5cm long and with only a few spikelets on it; erect lemmas 6.5 to 8mm long and 4 to 5mm wide; and with awns 2 to 6mm long curving outwards when mature. It too is native and occurs on grassy cliff tops or sandy or shingly ground near the sea. Scattered intermittently on the coasts.
  • (Bromus hordeaceus ssp. thominei) [RR] is considered by some authorities to be identical to ssp. feronii described just above! Otherwise; the somewhat woody stems are 8cm long (occasionally up to 12cm) and procumbent to ascending; the panicle is less than 3cm long with only a few erect spikelets; the lemmas are 6.7 to 7.5mm long by 4 to 5mm wide and usually hairless (or infrequently hairy); and their awns are 3 to 7mm long and either straight or slightly curved outwards. It is native and occurs in much the same habitats as ssp. ferronii. However it is often mistaken for the much taller (up to 60cm!) Lesser Soft-brome (Bromus × pseudothominei) which itself might be better put under the Hordeaceus genus as Bromus hordeaceus ssp. pseudothomnei! Oh the tortuous lives that taxonomists must endure!
  • (Bromus hordeaceus ssp. longipedicallatus) which is the tallest Soft Brome sub-species being erect to 1.5m. The panicle is less than 20cm long and has many spikelets, some of which have long stalks and splay outwards; lemmas are 7.5 to 10.5mm long and usually hairy; Awn straight and 4 to 10mm long. This too is native, growing in grassy places , field edges, waysides and scattered over the British Isles but occurring mostly in the South.


  Bromus hordeaceus  ⇐ Global Aspect ⇒ Poaceae  

Distribution
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Bromus
(Bromes)

SOFT BROME

SOFT-BROME

Bromus hordeaceus

Grasses Family [Poaceae]