Identifying Grass Seedlings

Cheat (Bromus secalinus)

Winter annual grasses


Cheat may grow as an erect or ascending plant up to 3½ feet high. The presence of hair on the plant is variable. Sheaths are round and may be smooth but are sometimes hairy. Blades are 3–9 mm wide, may be smooth or hairy and have a twisted appearance. Auricles are absent, and the ligule is a prominent, ragged membrane.

Mature cheatMature cheat.

Collar regionCollar region: prominent, ragged ligule.


Cheat occurs on disturbed banks of waterways, rights-of-way, pastures, fallow fields and open, disturbed areas. Cheat can be a serious weed problem in wheat production in Missouri.


A native of Europe, cheat has adapted to a wide distribution throughout Missouri, the United States and Canada.

Similar species

Downy brome is also a winter annual that is closely related, but it is more densely hairy and more common throughout Missouri.