Bromus catharticus Vahl

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Bromus catharticus

Photo: Bart Wursten
Leopard Rock Golf Course, Vumba

Bromus catharticus

Photo: Bart Wursten
Leopard Rock Golf Course, Vumba

Bromus catharticus

Photo: Bart Wursten
By offices John Meikle Forestry Research Station, Stapleford.

Bromus catharticus

Photo: Bart Wursten
By offices John Meikle Forestry Research Station, Stapleford.

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Synonyms: Bromus haenkeanus (Presl) Kunt
Bromus unioloides Kunth
Bromus unioloides (Willd.) Rasp.
Bromus willdenowii Kunth
Ceratochloa carinata (Vahl) Herter
Ceratochloa cathartica (Vahl) Herter
Ceratochloa haenkeana Presl
Ceratochloa unioloides (Willd. unioloides (Willd.) Beauv.
Festuca unioloides Willd.
Schedonardus unioloides (Kunth) Roem. & Schult.
Common names: Rescue grass (English)
Status: Introduced
A rather variable annual, biennial or short-lived perennial. Culms 40-100 cm. tall, 2-4-noded, erect to straggling, slender and weak to robust, glabrous, smooth. Leaf-sheaths tight at first later usually slipping off the culm, striate, inconspicuously keeled; the lower usually densely pubescent to almost tomentose, rarely glabrous, pallid. Ligule 2-5 mm. long, ovate, often lacerate. Leaf-laminae 6-25 x 0·2-1·2 cm., linear, tapering to a fine point, more or less flaccid, usually expanded, glabrous or more rarely shortly pilose especially dorsally towards the base, scabrous on the nerves of both surfaces and along the margins. Panicle 15-30 cm. long, usually rather narrow, oblong, narrowly elliptic, or ovate-oblong in outline, erect or sometimes nodding, scantily branched (in poorly developed plants reduced to a raceme); rhachis terete and grooved below, sharply angular above, increasingly scaberulous towards the apex; branches 2-4-nate, remote, filiform, angulose, scabrous, obliquely ascending to drooping. Spikelets (15)20-40 mm. long, 6-12-flowered, pedicelled, narrowly elliptic to lanceolate-elliptic in outline, strongly laterally compressed, pale green to glaucous; rhachilla easily disarticulating at maturity. Glums lanceolate, with the apex acute to acuminate, with whitish hyaline margins, glabrous, smooth but for the scaberulous keels; the inferior 6-14 mm. long, 5-7-nerved; the superior 11-17 mm. long, 7-9-nerved. Lemmas 12-18mm. long, 9-13-nerved, very densely imbricate, narrowly oblong-lanceolate, chartaceous with thinly membranous margins, with the apex usually very minutely 2-dentate, mucronate or shortly awned, very sharply keeled, scaberulous along the flanks (mainly on the nerves) and along the keel; awn up to 3 mm. long. Palea c. the length of the lemma, with the keels stiffly ciliolate. Anthers 0·5-1 mm. long. Caryopsis 8-12 mm. long.
Notes: Not recorded in Flora Zambesiaca volume 10 part 1 for Mozambique but present in Da Silva et Al., 2004: 160.
Derivation of specific name:
Habitat: A weed of disturbed places, lawns and gardens, usually in moist places.
Altitude range:
Flowering time:Mostly Oct - Apr
Worldwide distribution: Originating from South America, but now naturalised in many parts of the world.
Mozambique distribution: GI,M
Growth form(s):
Endemic status:
Red data list status:
Insects associated with this species:
Spot characters: Display spot characters for this species
Content last updated: Friday 21 June 2019

Bromilow, C. (2010). Problem Plants and Alien Weeds of South Africa Briza Publications, South Africa Page 70. (Includes a picture).

Chapano, C. (2002). A checklist of Zimbabwean grasses Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 16. Pretoria. Page 4.

Chapano, C. & Mamuto, M. (2003). Plants of the Chimanimani District National Herbarium and Botanic Garden, Zimbabwe Page 10.

Da Silva, M.C., Izidine, S. & Amude, A.B. (2004). A preliminary checklist of the vascular plants of Mozambique. Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 30 Sabonet, Pretoria Page 160.

Fish, L., Mashau, A.C., Moeaha, M.J. & Nembudani, M.T. (2015). Identification Guide to Southern African Grasses Strelitzia 36 South African National Biodiversity Institute, Pretoria Page 142.

Launert, E. (1971). Poaceae Flora Zambesiaca 10(1) Pages 59 - 61. As Bromus unioloides (Includes a picture).

Mapaura, A. & Timberlake, J. (eds) (2004). A checklist of Zimbabwean vascular plants Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 33 Sabonet, Pretoria and Harare Page 101.

Other sources of information about Bromus catharticus:

Our websites:

Flora of Caprivi: Bromus catharticus
Flora of Malawi: Bromus catharticus
Flora of Zimbabwe: Bromus catharticus

External websites:

African Plants: A Photo Guide (Senckenberg): Bromus catharticus
African Plant Database: Bromus catharticus
BHL (Biodiversity Heritage Library): Bromus catharticus
EOL (Encyclopedia of Life): Bromus catharticus
GBIF (Global Biodiversity Information Facility): Bromus catharticus
Google: Web - Images - Scholar
iNaturalist: Bromus catharticus
IPNI (International Plant Names Index): Bromus catharticus
JSTOR Plant Science: Bromus catharticus
Mansfeld World Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Crops: Bromus catharticus
Plants of the World Online: Bromus catharticus
Tropicos: Bromus catharticus
Wikipedia: Bromus catharticus

Copyright: Mark Hyde, Bart Wursten, Petra Ballings and Meg Coates Palgrave 2007-24

Hyde, M.A., Wursten, B.T., Ballings, P. & Coates Palgrave, M. (2024). Flora of Mozambique: Species information: Bromus catharticus., retrieved 18 April 2024

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