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

Bromus sitchensis Trin.
Alaska brome
Poaceae (Grass family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Jamie Fenneman  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #20789)

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Distribution of Bromus sitchensis
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Species Information

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Perennial grass from fibrous roots; stems 50-150 (200) cm tall.
Sheaths smooth to soft-hairy; blades (5) 8-15 mm wide, flat, smooth to soft-hairy on the dorsal surfaces at least, thin, the nerves very narrow, scarcely 1/3 as broad as the intervening areas; ear-shaped lobes lacking at the leaf-bases; ligules smooth (to crisp-hairy), jagged, pale, (2) 4-8 mm long.
Inflorescence a large panicle, 10-35 cm long, the branches stiffly erect to mostly spreading or drooping, usually bearing only 1 or 2 (3) spikelets near the tips; spikelets closely 4- to 8- (12-) flowered, strongly compressed, tapered from near the base, 2-4 cm long; florets mostly small, closed, self-fertilizing; glumes lanceolate, keeled, the lower ones 3- or 5-nerved, 8-10 mm long, the upper ones, 5- or 7-nerved, 2-3 mm longer; lemmas smooth to more or less short-hairy, keeled on the back, (6) 7-12 mm long, shallowly bidentate, awned, the awns straight or slightly abruptly bent, (5) 7-12 (15) mm long; rachillas completely exposed to often not exposed; paleas about equalling or exceeding the lemmas; anthers (0.5) 1-3 (6) mm long.
The treatment here follows that of Calder and Taylor (1968) who suggested that B. aleutensis was merely a depauperate form of B. sitchensis. They can be separated only on minor and overlapping differences in panicle characteristics.

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, streambanks, beaches, talus slopes, avalanche tracks and open forests in the lowland, montane and subalpine zones; frequent in BC in and west of the Coast-Cascade Mountains, rare in SE BC; N to AK and S to NW OR.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Bromus sitchensis

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) 5 731 2187
Slope Gradient (%) 0 15 82
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
14 164 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
0 4 7
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(2), CWH(40), ESSF(16), ICH(6), IDF(2), MS(3), PP(1), SBPS(2), SBS(12)


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 cool mesothermal.

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Bromus aleutensis Trin. ex Griseb.
Bromus sitchensis var. aleutensis (Trin. ex Griseb.) Hultén
Bromus sitchensis var. linearis

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References