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

Bromus vulgaris (Hook.) Shear
Columbia brome
Poaceae (Grass family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Adolf Ceska  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #13412)

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Distribution of Bromus vulgaris
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Species Information

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Perennial grass from fibrous roots, sometimes rooting at the lower nodes; stems usually hairy at the nodes, 60-100 (120) cm tall.
Sheaths strongly soft-hairy to smooth, but often with a few long hairs at the throats; blades 5-10 (15) mm wide, flat, lax, smooth to soft-hairy on either or both surfaces; ear-shaped lobes lacking at the leaf-bases; ligules smooth to hairy, finely to coarsely jagged, (2) 3-5 mm long.
Inflorescence a somewhat compact panicle, 10-18 (20) cm long, the branches slender, often drooping; spikelets (3-) 5- to 7- (10-) flowered, slightly if at all compressed, (15) 20-28 mm long; glumes smooth or rough on the nerves or keels, the lower ones 1-nerved but sometimes obscurely to plainly 3-nerved, 5-8 mm long, the upper ones 3-nerved (or obscurely 5-nerved), 7-10 mm long; lemmas hairy along the marginal nerves and sometimes over the lower halves but more or less smooth towards the tips, rounded on the backs, 8-13 mm long, shallowly bidentate, awned, the awns (3) 5-10 mm long; anthers 3-5 mm long, exserted.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

USDA Species Characteristics

Flower Colour:
Blooming Period:
Late Spring
Fruit/Seed characteristics:
Colour: Brown
Present from Spring to Summer
Source:  The USDA

Habitat / Range

Moist to mesic meadows, thickets, streambanks, rocky slopes and open forests in the lowland and subalpine zones; common on S Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands, infrequent in S and C BC; E to AB and S to WY, UT, ID and CA.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Bromus vulgaris

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) 2 1037 2178
Slope Gradient (%) 0 20 190
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
0 183 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
1 4 8
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: BWBS(19), CDF(103), CWH(242), ESSF(376), ICH(427), IDF(98), IMA(1), MH(2), MS(124), PP(5), SBPS(11), SBS(253), SWB(6)

Ecological Indicator Information

A shade-tolerant/intolerant, submontane to montane, Western North American grass distributed equally in the Pacific and Cordilleran regions. Occurs on nitrogen-rich soils within montane, boreal, wet temperate, and cool mesothermal climates; its occurrence decreases with elevation. Scattered in coniferous forests on water-shedding sites, common in broad-leaved forests on water-receiving (alluvial, floodplain, and seepage) sites. A nitrophytic species characteristic of Moder and Mull humus forms.

SourceIndicator Plants of Coastal British Columbia (Information applies to coastal locations only)


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.

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Bromopsis vulgaris (Hook.) Holub
Bromus eximius
Bromus vulgaris var. eximius Shear
Bromus vulgaris var. robustus Shear
Bromus vulgaris var. vulgaris

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References