E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Bromus hordeaceus L.
soft brome (soft chess)
Poaceae (Grass family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Hans Roemer  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #22951)

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Distribution of Bromus hordeaceus
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Species Information

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Annual or biennial grass from fibrous roots; stems smooth or soft-hairy, (10) 20-70 cm tall.
Lower sheaths densely soft-hairy (the hairs angled downward) to woolly, the upper ones hairy to smooth; blades mostly 1.5-4 mm wide, flat; ear-shaped lobes lacking at the leaf-bases; ligules usually hairy, sometimes smooth, finely jagged with fine hairs, 0.5-1 (1.5) mm long.
Inflorescence an erect, narrow, crowded panicle, soft-hairy to smooth, 3-10 cm long; spikelets 5- to 7- (9-) flowered, slightly compressed, 10-20 mm long; florets mostly small, closed, self-fertilizing; spikelet stalks usually shorter than the spikelets; lower glumes lanceolate, 3- to 5- nerved, 4.5-9 mm long, the upper ones egg-shaped to lanceolate, 5- to 7-nerved, 6-9 mm long; lemmas papery with prominent nerves, somewhat compressed from top to bottom, 6.5-11 mm long, rounded at the tips, bidentate, awned, the awns straight, 6-10 mm long; paleas from nearly equal to the lemmas to 1-1.5 (rarely 2) mm shorter; anthers (0.5) 1.5-2 mm long, but sometimes 2.5-3 mm long and exserted.
Two subspecies are recognized in BC:

1. Lemmas 6.5-7.5 mm long; lower and upper glumes 4.5-6 mm and 6-6.6 mm long, respectively........................ ssp. thominei (Hardham ex Nyman) Braun-Blanquet

1. Lemmas 8-11 mm long; lower and upper glumes (6) 7-9 mm and (7) 8-9 mm, respectively............................ ssp. hordeaceus.

The hybrid B. hordeaceus ssp. hordeaceus x B. lepidus Holmberg (B. x pseudothominei P.M. Sm.) noted by Pavlick (1995) appears to be infrequent on S Vancouver Island and elsewhere in S BC and is difficult to distinguish from ssp. hordeaceus.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Dry to mesic fields, roadsides, disturbed sites, open forests, lakeshores and dry salt marshes in the lowland, steppe and montane zones; frequent (ssp. hordeaceus) or infrequent (ssp. thominei) in SW and SC BC, rare on Queen Charlotte Islands; introduced from Europe.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Bromus hordeaceus

The table below shows the species-specific information calculated from
original data (BEC database) provided by the BC Ministry of Forests and Range.
(Updated August, 2013)

Site Information
Value / Class




Elevation (metres) 122 580 1050
Slope Gradient (%) 0 32 210
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
38 184 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
0 2 5
Modal Nutrient Regime
Number of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class
All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in: CDF(6), CWH(1), IDF(39), PP(5)


The climate type for this species, as reported in the: "British Columbia plant species codes and selected attributes. Version 6 Database" (Meidinger et al. 2008), is not evaluated, unknown or variable.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

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