Identifying Grass Seedlings

Brome, downy (Bromus tectorum)

Winter annual grasses


Downy brome is a tuft-forming, densely hairy winter annual. The leaf blades have a spiraling appearance, 2–6 mm wide and both the upper and lower surfaces are covered with hair. The sheath is round and also covered with hair. Auricles are absent, and the ligule is a prominent membrane.

Mature annual bluegrass. Mature downy brome.

Collar region SeedlingCollar region: prominent ligule; leaves densely hairy.
Right, seedling: spiraling leaf blades.


Downy brome can be found in many settings but is most problematic as an agronomic weed of wheat.


Downy brome is an introduced species but is found throughout Missouri and the United States.

Similar species

Cheat is also a winter annual that is closely related, but it is not as densely hairy as downy brome and not as common in Missouri.