Brome grass, in the genus Bromus, is a very common small grass found in most areas. There are many different species of brome, found on several different continents. They vary in attributes and form. There are various different types with weird names like ripgut brome and soft chess. Although most areas have a native bromus, they are so variable that if another type of brome is introduced it can become a harmful weed. For instance, Bromus tectorum and Bromus hordeaceous are invasive in the western US. Bromus hordeaceous is small and unobtrusive and probably doesnt cause major problems. Bromus tectorum, and its close relative Bromus rubens, are also small grasses. However these are able to survive in areas such as the Mojave Desert which normally didnt have grass. This grass has an interesting relationship with fire. It quickly moves in after a fire and once it has been introduced, it quickly dies and dries up, making the land more flammable than before the fire. This results in increasing fire frequencies which can drastically change ecosystems. For instance in the northern San Bernadino Mountains a recent fire has burned off most of the pinon pine and sagebrush, allowing bromus to move in. This area is likely to have more fires in the future. Although this area is rather remote, the same problem exists in malibu and other such inhabited areas. In fact, the government even seeds grasses like this to hold hillsides and prevent mudslides. The grasses are too small to prevent mudslides, but they do increase greatly the danger of another fire

Brome" grass` (?). [L. bromos a kind of oats, Gr. .] Bot.

A genus Bromus of grasses, one species of which is the chess or cheat.

 

© Webster 1913.

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