Invasive Cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum)

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Domain- Eukarya
Kingdom- Plantae
Class- Liliopsida
Order- Cyperales
Family- Poaceae
Genus- Bromus
Species- Bromus tectorum



The generic name Bromus is derived from the Latin bromos, and bromos means "oats". The specific name tectorum has a Latin origin meaning "roofing". With Bromus tectorum having so many other common names it is hard to say what its true translation means as a whole. However, when looking at the word origins separately we get “oat roofing” which could refer to the fact that the leaves of the grass look like that of oats, and the fact that it is so abundant and invasive that it covers the ground in its seeds once it dries out acting like a roof to the top soil (Borror 1960).

Domain: Eukarya- Organisms in the Eukarya domain contain a “true nucleus” along with many membrane bound organelles. This vast domain includes fungi such as the jelly ear mushroom or black bread mold along with animals such as the red-eyed tree frog.

Kingdom:Plantae- Bromus tectorum belongs under kingdom plantae because it is a living multicellular organism that has a cell wall made of cellulose. Another reason it belongs here is because it acquires most of the energy it needs from sunlight via photosynthesis.

Phylum: Anthophyta-
Bromus tectorum belongs to the Magnoliophyta domain because it is a flowering plant or angiosperm and has leaves, stems, and roots (primary growth).The organisms in this phylum such as the kiwifruit,the sugar maple, and even macadamia nuts also produce seeds encapsulated in a seed coat.

Class: Liliopsida- Members of this class are all monocots. It is a major characteristic to flowering plants and it means that they have one cotyledon. A cotyledon is part of the embryo within the plant and it helps this plant reproduce so quickly. Besides Bromus tectorum, another organism that is in this class is the curly leaf pondweed.

Order: Cyperales- Angiosperms in the Cyperales order are either wind- or self- pollinating flowers. These plants are composed of two-or–three carpellates all leading to a single chambered ovary. A carpellate, also known as the pistil, consists of the female reproductive organs including a stigma, style, and ovary. Along with that, the flowers are arranged in spikelets forming inflorescence. This means the flowering portions of the plant are clustered together and extend out from a main branch, like common wheat.

Family: Poaceae- Everything under the family Poaceae is a monocotyledonous flowering plant more commonly known as a grass. More specifically they have hollow stems with parallel veins running through it. They also have leaves that sprout at the nodes, alternating every other side to maximize absorption of sunlight.

Genus: Bromus- The Bromus genus is comprised of roughly one hundred and fifty different grass species! It is part of the grass family and is also considered a cool-season grass. These grasses are native to temperate regions.

Species: Bromus tectorum- The species, Bromus tectorum was placed here and separated from all other of its genus because it is an alien species. It acts in extremely peculiar ways by invading every land area that it is introduced to. In turn, causing harm to the soil, pushing other species out, and starting wild fires. Just so it can continue to take over.  

Information cited from (PLANTS 2014).

This phylogenetic tree displays the evolution of the order Cyperales, which Bromus tectorum can be found in. The flow of Cheatgrass is marked in bold starting from the major clade and ending with the order that Cheatgrass belongs in. Organisms in the Cyperales order are characterized by their two-or-three carpellate all leading to an ovary, or a cluster of flower spikelets(PLANTS 2014). The cyperales order can be further divided into two families. These families include Poaceae and Cyperaceae. Cheatgrass is a part of the Poaceae family because it is a grass with hollow stems (PLANTS 2014).  


The Genus Bromus can be broken down into seven different sub-genuses that can further be broken down into species as displayed in this phylogenetic tree. Since there is much complexity regarding the organism, no world-wide taxonomy exists for the Genus Bromus (Williams et al. 2011). The categoric breakdown we have chosen to display below was created by Smith (Smith 1970). Each sub-genus varies in species abundance.

Bromus tectorum belongs to the Genea sub-species. The seven species in the sub-genus Genea are those native to the mediterranean. These species that make up Genea are also self-fertilizing and have ploidies ranging from 2x to 8x. (Williams et al. 2011) Bromus tectorum belongs to the the diploid group (Williams et al. 2011).


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