Bromus sterilis

Scientific Name Bromus sterilis
Common Names English: Barren brome; German: Taube Trespe; French: Brome stérile
Description B. sterilis is an annual or hardy annual, seed propagated grass weed forming loose tufts.


Characteristic Features

Shorter ears, awns more open and straighter than B. japonicus. Erected 20-80 cm (7.87 - 31.49 inch) tall grass with open panicles.

Young Plant

50 cm (19.68 inch) tall, leaf blade hairy, lower side smooth, youngest leaf rolled.


Smooth, erect, completely hairless, at the very top sometimes rough.


Ligules toothed large white and deeply fringed, auricles missing, sheath closed (tubular) and hairy, distinctly nerved, changing to purplish color during maturation.

Propagation Organs


Panicle very open with long rough branches, the rather long ears bear many (4-10) florets, very long, getting broader to the end.
Lower glume 1-nerved, upper one with 2 teeth.
One awn which is longer than the upper glume.

Flowering Period





Germination occurs mostly in autumn, sometimes in spring.

Viability of Seeds

Very short living seeds (1-2 years).


By seeds, 200 seeds per plant.



Rather common in cooler parts of Europe, South-West Asia and North America. It often occurs along field borders.


Barren brome prefers fresh, moist, permeable and nitrogen rich soils.

Additional Crop Information

B. secalinus mostly occurs in cereals.

Agricultural Importance

Increased as a problem weed in cultivated fields being favored by the growing of continuous winter cereals and the adoption of plowless techniques. B. sterilis causes high yield loss in high density patches and sometimes results in difficulties at harvest. The use of selective ALS-inhibitors for control is limited to wheat only. Only low efficacy of ALS-inhibitors in barley has been reported.


Useful non-chemical contribution to Integrated Weed Management

Careful seed cleaning and selection of weed free fields for seed propagation, planting competitive wheat and barley varieties, late sowing of winter wheat, moldboard ploughing, rotating winter annual and summer annual crops, mowing field borders may reduce the weed infestation. The previously practiced burning of infested field provided valuable control but does not comply with anti-pollution and carbon dioxide avoidance considerations.

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