Compact brome

Scientific name: Anisantha madritensis

Status: Nationally rare (if native)

Flowering time: May – July

Description: This winter annual grass has a green or purple flowering head. It has v-shaped spikelets with classic brome-family whiskery awns that give it a characteristically shaggy look. Height varies between 10cm and 60cm.

Social history: First discovered by Sir Joseph Banks, Captain Cook’s botanist, in 1773.

Taxonomy: Poaceae (grass family).

Global and national distribution: Widespread as a casual, but still considered by some to be a native plant in a few old-established sites in southwest Britain and the Channel Islands, including the Avon Gorge. A plant of the Mediterranean and S.W. Asia.

Threats: Loss of open, disturbed habitat.

Photographs: © Denice Stout, © Phil Jearey.