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; cheatgrass (B. tectorum, also known as downy, or drooping, brome), a Eurasian native that is a pest and fire hazard on North American rangeland and prairie; and rye brome (B. secalinus, also called chess or cheat), a Eurasian grass that is pest of North American 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 Poaceae.
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