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California Brome Grass
Bromus carinatus
About California Brome Grass (Bromus carinatus) Nurseries Show All Photos Bromus carinatus is a species of native bunchgrass known by the common names California Brome and Mountain Brome. It is native to western North America from Alaska to northern Mexico, where it can be found in many types of habitat. It is found in every county in California. It is a perennial grass growing in clumps 0.5 to 1.5 meters tall, with many narrow leaves up to 40 centimeters long. The flower cluster is a spreading or drooping array of flat spikelets longer than they are wide. The grass is wind-pollinated but is also sometimes cleistogamous, so that the flowers pollinate themselves, especially under stressful conditions. It also reproduces vegetatively via tillers. This grass is used for control of erosion and revegetation of damaged land, as well as a highly palatable forage for livestock. In the garden it has a reputation for being short-lived but readily re-seeds. It completes well with non-native weeds, and its sod-building root system makes it useful for erosion control.
Plant Description
Plant Type

Max. Height
1 - 5 ft (0.3 - 1.5 m)

Max. Width
1 ft (0.3 m)

Upright, Spreading


Growth Rate

Summer Deciduous

Highly variable, but generally with blades 3-12 mm wide, spread out along stems. Leaves may be hairy or glabrous.

Flower Color

Flowering Season

Native Status

Natural Setting
Site Type
Found in virtually all natural settings in California

Sun, Part Shade

Elevation ?
-113' - 14090'

Annual Precip. ?
2.7" - 148.6"

Summer Precip. ?
0.14" - 5.40"

Coldest Month ?
10.8° F - 61.0° F

Hottest Month ?
34.1° F - 88.4° F

Humidity ?
0.01 vpd - 39.29 vpd

Soil Description
Tolerates most soil types but especially good in clay

Soil Texture
Clay, Clay Loam, Loam

Soil PH
5.5 - 8.0

Medium, Slow

Cold Tolerance(° F)
Tolerates cold to -15° F

Companion Plants
California Brome is a common widespread grass and can be grown successfully with many other California Natives that prefer sun and some summer water, such as Black Oak (Quercus kelloggii), Douglas' sagewort (Artemesia douglasiana), and Dog Violet (Viola adunca).

Wildlife Attracted
Various insects and seed-eating birds are attracted to this plant. It is a host plant for the Umber Skipper butterfly.

Landscaping Information
Ease of Care
Very Easy

Water Requirement ?
Extremely Low
Very Low
Moderate - High

Seldom Used

Max. Summer Water ?
No Summer Water
Keep moist

Responds favorably to mowing in spring and summer.

Pest Control
California brome is susceptible to head smut, a fungus which can be controlled by treating seeds with a fungicide before sowing.

Propagation ?
Propagate from seeds, which are easily collected from the inflorescence.

Common uses
Groundcovers, Butterfly Gardens

Nursery Availability
Commonly Available

Other Names
Common Names
Mountain Brome

Sources include: Wikipedia. All text shown in the "About" section of these pages is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Plant observation data provided by the participants of the California Consortia of Herbaria, Sunset information provided by Jepson Flora Project. Propogation from seed information provided by the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden from "Seed Propagation of Native California Plants" by Dara E. Emery. Sources of plant photos include CalPhotos, Wikimedia Commons, and independent plant photographers who have agreed to share their images with Calscape. Other general sources of information include Calflora, CNPS Manual of Vegetation Online, Jepson Flora Project, Las Pilitas, Theodore Payne, Tree of Life, The Xerces Society, and information provided by CNPS volunteer editors, with special thanks to Don Rideout. Climate data used in creation of plant range maps is from PRISM Climate Group, Oregon State University, using 30 year (1981-2010) annual "normals" at an 800 meter spatial resolution.

Links:   Jepson eFlora Taxon Page  CalPhotos  Wikipedia  Calflora

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