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Bromus tectorum - Poaceae Family 

cheatgrass_1   cheatgrass_2  cheatgrass_3  cheatgrass_4


  • Flowers:  Flower heads, which include many small flowers arranged in spikelets, emerge from inside the stem and gradually grow taller. Flowers appear light green to yellow and may be covered in small, fine hairs.
  • Seeds:  The fruit is a tiny grain, hidden within tiny bracts and grouped into small clusters that hang on the end of branches along a drooping seed head.
  • Leaves: The leaf sheaths and blades are covered with soft short hairs. The leaves are 0.08-0.16 inches wide and up to 8 inches long.
  • Flowering Time: Flowering occurs from May to June.
  • Life cycle:  Cheatgrass is a winter annual that reproduces by seed. Germination occurs in fall through winter to early spring, depending on the climate and rainfall.


  • Cheatgrass presence increases the chances of ignition, rate of spread and expanding the season of wildfires, reducing the interval between re-occurring fires. 
  • Spreading extremely quickly, it rapidly outcompetes most native plant species and forms dense monocultures virtually anywhere it colonizes.
  • Cheatgrass seeds can cause injury to the ears, eyes and mouths of pets such as dogs and horses as well as to humans.



Most effective control methods

  • Mechanical control is considered too costly and ineffective to be a viable control method.
  • There are currently no biocontrol agents approved to combat Cheatgrass in the US.
  • The most effective method currently available to control Cheatgrass is through the use of nonselective herbicides such as glyphosate. These herbicides will kill any plant they contact, so caution is critical to the health of the ecosystem.


Large Images


Chris Evans, University of Illinois,



John M. Randall, The Nature Conservancy,

Cheatgrass: infestation


K. George Beck and James Sebastian, Colorado State University,

Cheatgrass: going to seed


Leslie J. Mehrhoff, University of Connecticut,

Cheatgrass: infestation


John M. Randall, The Nature Conservancy,

Cheatgrass: infestation


Leslie J. Mehrhoff, University of Connecticut,

Cheatgrass: infestation


Leslie J. Mehrhoff, University of Connecticut,

 Close-up of cheatgrass inflorescence


Jan Samanek, Phytosanitary Administration,

Cheatgrass: seeds


  • Cheatgrass Fact Sheet

  • References

    Colorado State University. (2012, May). Cheatgrass and wildfire [PDF file]. Retrieved from View PDF

    Feldkamp, L. (2016, September 7). Attacking invasive cheatgrass at its root. Retrieved from

    United States Department of Agriculture. (2014, September). Field guide for managing cheatgrass in the Southwest [PDF file]. Retrieved from View PDF

    USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. (2008, October 1). Cheatgrass [PDF file]. Retrieved from View PDF

    Utah State University Extension. (2017). Bottlebrush squirreltail. Retrieved from

    Zouhar, K. (2003). SPECIES: Bromus tectorum. Fire Effects Information System. Retrieved from