brome grass, common name for any plant of the genus Bromus, chiefly large, coarse grasses of a weedy nature; some, however, are useful as forage, and others are cultivated for decoration. Some of the better-known bromes are the smooth brome ( B. inermis, sometimes called awnless, or Hungarian, brome), often cultivated for pasture or for holding banks; rescue grass ( B. catharticus or B. unioloides ), a forage in the Southern states; and chess, or cheat ( B. secalinus ), a pest of grainfields, formerly believed by some to be degenerate wheat. Many species of brome grasses develop sharp-barbed fruits at maturity that are injurious to stock (whence the name ripgut grass for some); before maturity these are often used for forage. Brome grasses are classified in the division Magnoliophyta, class Liliopsida, order Cyperales, family Gramineae.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.