Index of Species Information

SPECIES:  Bromus ciliatus


SPECIES: Bromus ciliatus
AUTHORSHIP AND CITATION : Esser, Lora L. 1994. Bromus ciliatus. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: [].

ABBREVIATION : BROCIL SYNONYMS : Bromopsis ciliatus (L.) Holub [59] SCS PLANT CODE : BRCI2 COMMON NAMES : fringed brome fringed bromegrass TAXONOMY : The currently accepted scientific name of fringed brome is Bromus ciliatus L. [37,59]. It is a member of the Poaceae family. There are two recognized forms [66]: B. c. f. ciliatus B. c. f. intonus (Fern.) Seymour Some authorities classify the tetraploid race of this plant as a distinct species, B. richardsonii Link [27,32]. LIFE FORM : Graminoid FEDERAL LEGAL STATUS : No special status OTHER STATUS : NO-ENTRY


SPECIES: Bromus ciliatus
GENERAL DISTRIBUTION : Fringed brome occurs from Alaska south to southern California and east throughout the western states, the Great Plains, and discontinuously through the midwestern, northeastern, and Atlantic coastal states [24,29,46,59]. It occurs throughout Canada, excluding the Northwest Territories and Prince Edward Island [23,24,37]. Fringed brome also occurs in Mexico [29,59]. ECOSYSTEMS : FRES10 White - red - jack pine FRES11 Spruce - fir FRES17 Elm - ash - cottonwood FRES18 Maple - beech - birch FRES19 Aspen - birch FRES20 Douglas-fir FRES21 Ponderosa pine FRES23 Fir - spruce FRES26 Lodgepole pine FRES28 Western hardwoods FRES29 Sagebrush FRES34 Chaparral - mountain shrub FRES35 Pinyon - juniper FRES36 Mountain grasslands FRES37 Mountain meadows FRES38 Plains grasslands FRES39 Prairie STATES : AK CA CO ID IL IN IA KS ME MA MI MN MO MT NE NH NJ NM NV NY NC ND OK OR PA RI SD TN TX UT VT VA WA WI WV WY AB BC MB NB NF NS ON PQ SK YT MEXICO BLM PHYSIOGRAPHIC REGIONS : 1 Northern Pacific Border 2 Cascade Mountains 3 Southern Pacific Border 4 Sierra Mountains 5 Columbia Plateau 6 Upper Basin and Range 7 Lower Basin and Range 8 Northern Rocky Mountains 9 Middle Rocky Mountains 10 Wyoming Basin 11 Southern Rocky Mountains 12 Colorado Plateau 13 Rocky Mountain Piedmont 14 Great Plains 15 Black Hills Uplift 16 Upper Missouri Basin and Broken Lands KUCHLER PLANT ASSOCIATIONS : K005 Mixed conifer forest K008 Lodgepole pine - subalpine forest K010 Ponderosa shrub forest K011 Western ponderosa forest K012 Douglas-fir forest K015 Western spruce - fir forest K016 Eastern ponderosa forest K017 Black Hills pine forest K018 Pine - Douglas-fir forest K019 Arizona pine forest K020 Spruce - fir - Douglas-fir forest K021 Southwestern spruce - fir forest K022 Great Basin pine forest K023 Juniper - pinyon woodland K026 Oregon oakwoods K031 Oak - juniper woodlands K033 Chaparral K037 Mountain-mahogany - oak scrub K050 Fescue - wheatgrass K055 Sagebrush steppe K066 Wheatgrass - needlegrass K074 Bluestem prairie K093 Great Lakes spruce - fir forest K094 Conifer bog K095 Great Lakes pine forest K101 Elm - ash forest K107 Northern hardwoods - fir forest SAF COVER TYPES : 1 Jack pine 5 Balsam fir 12 Black spruce 13 Black spruce - tamarack 16 Aspen 18 Paper birch 21 Eastern white pine 37 Northern white-cedar 38 Tamarack 63 Cottonwood 107 White spruce 108 Red maple 201 White spruce 202 White spruce - paper birch 203 Balsam poplar 204 Black spruce 206 Engelmann spruce - subalpine fir 209 Bristlecone pine 210 Interior Douglas-fir 211 White fir 216 Blue spruce 217 Aspen 218 Lodgepole pine 219 Limber pine 220 Rocky Mountain juniper 233 Oregon white oak 235 Cottonwood - willow 237 Interior ponderosa pine 239 Pinyon - juniper 243 Sierra Nevada mixed conifer 244 Pacific ponderosa pine - Douglas-fir 245 Pacific ponderosa pine 251 White spruce - aspen 252 Paper birch 253 Black spruce - white spruce 254 Black spruce - paper birch SRM (RANGELAND) COVER TYPES : NO-ENTRY HABITAT TYPES AND PLANT COMMUNITIES : Fringed brome occurs in a wide variety of habitat types including pinyon-juniper (Pinus spp.-Juniperus spp.), quaking aspen (Populus tremuloides), fir-spruce (Abies spp.-Picea spp.), subalpine fir (Abies lasiocarpa), ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa), lodgepole pine (P. contorta), Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii), maple (Acer spp.), sagebrush, grassland, and riparian [1,6,11,40,59]. It is an indicator of aspen and riparian community types in the Intermountain region [11,43,45]. Fringed brome occurs in coniferous forest, in both climax and seral communities. A Douglas-fir/fringed brome habitat type has been described for northern New Mexico and northern Arizona [1,20,38]. Fringed brome is a member of the single-leaf pinyon-Utah juniper (Pinus monophylla-J. osteosperma) association of northern Arizona [13]. Fringed brome is a dominant understory species in subalpine fir, lodgepole pine, white fir (Abies concolor), and blue spruce (Picea pungens) habitat types of Arizona and New Mexico [1,2,20,43]. It is a common understory species in subalpine fir and Engelmann spruce (P. engelmannii) habitat types of Idaho and western Wyoming [11]. Fringed brome also occurs in a number of other communities. It is found in seral aspen community types, including the aspen/fringed brome community typed described for Utah [48] and aspen-dominated community types in Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico [45]. Fringed brome is a member of the sedge-goldenrod (Carex spp.-Solidago spp.) wet prairie community in Michigan [33]. It also occurs in peatlands of north-central Minnesota in minerotrophic fens [60]. In Canada, fringed brome is an understory species in a 100-year-old black spruce (Picea mariana) forest in southeastern Manitoba [14]. It also occurs in stagnant plantations of prethicket white spruce (P. glauca) on oldfield sites in Ontario [56]. Fringed brome is a member of the western snowberry (Symphoricarpos occidentalis) shrub community in Alberta [5]. The following publications list fringed brome as a community dominant: A classification of forest habitat types of the northern portion of the Cibola National Forest, New Mexico [1] Forest habitat types in the Apache, Gila, and part of the Cibola National Forests, Arizona and New Mexico [20] Forest and woodland habitat types (plant associations) of northern New Mexico and northern Arizona [38] A classification of spruce-fir and mixed conifer habitat types of Arizona and New Mexico [43] Aspen community types of the Pike and San Isabel National Forests in south-central Colorado [48] Species not previously mentioned but commonly associated with fringed brome in New Mexico include Arizona white oak (Quercus arizonica), Gambel oak (Q. gambelii), silverleaf oak (Q. hypoleucoides), alligator juniper (Juniperus deppeana), Arizona walnut (Juglans major), Arizona madrone (Arbutus arizonica), sacahuista (Nolina microcarpa), skunkbush sumac (Rhus trilobata), mountain snowberry (Symphoricarpos oreophilus), dwarf bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus), desert ceanothus (Ceanothus greggii), willow (Salix spp.), Oregon-grape (Mahonia repens), western yarrow (Achillea millefolium), bush oceanspray (Holodiscus dumosus), Fendler meadowrue (Thalictrum fendleri), New Mexico locust (Robinia neomexicana), green ephedra (Ephedra viridis), broom snakeweed (Gutierrezia sarothrae), Ross sedge (Carex rossii), Thurber fescue (Fescue thurberi), Arizona fescue (F. arizonica), and Wolf currant (Ribes wolfii) [1,13,43]. Species not previously mentioned but commonly associated with fringed brome in Utah and Wyoming include narrow-leaved cottonwood (Populus angustifolium), black sage (Artemisia nova), serviceberry (Amelanchier spp.), sticky geranium (Geranium viscosissimum), lupine (Lupinus spp.), woodland strawberry (Fragaria vesca), fireweed (Epilobium angustifolium), shrubby cinquefoil (Potentilla fruticosa), northern bedstraw (Galium boreale), Fendler bluegrass (Poa fendleriana), and slender wheatgrass (Elymus trachycaulus) [3,6,12].


SPECIES: Bromus ciliatus
IMPORTANCE TO LIVESTOCK AND WILDLIFE : Fringed brome is a good source of forage on western forest ranges. In Montana and Wyoming, fringed brome is browsed by livestock and is considered one of the best range grasses in Wyoming [10,40]. In Arizona and New Mexico, fringed brome is an important forage species for livestock, deer, and elk throughout the summer [31,38]. Seeds are eaten by small mammals, turkeys and other birds [25,38]. The aspen/fringed brome habitat type of central Colorado is ideal for pocket gophers [48]. PALATABILITY : Fringed brome is highly palatable to deer, elk, and all classes of livestock [10,31,59]. NUTRITIONAL VALUE : Energy rating is fair and protein content is poor for fringed brome [10]. COVER VALUE : The white fir-Arizona walnut habitat type of Arizona and New Mexico, in which fringed brome occurs, provides excellent cover for rodents, turkeys, and quail. The Douglas-fir/fringed brome habitat type provides nesting cover for band-tailed pigeons [20]. VALUE FOR REHABILITATION OF DISTURBED SITES : Erosion control and short-term revegetation potential are rated medium, and long-term revegetation potential is rated high for fringed brome [10]. OTHER USES AND VALUES : NO-ENTRY OTHER MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS : The effects of clearcutting on wildlife habitat were studied in a moist subalpine forest in central Colorado. Fringed brome cover increased 1 year after harvest, and then fluctuated in postharvest years 2 to 5. Percent understory cover of fringed brome before and after clearcutting were [15]: before logging years after logging (1978-1982) (1976) 1 2 3 4 5 2.9 3.3 1.0 1.6 2.5 1.5 Fringed brome is highly palatable, so it is often grazed too closely. Humphrey [31] recommended that about 33 percent of the seedstalks be left ungrazed each year and a grazing deferment every third year be instituted for continuous availability of fringed brome.


SPECIES: Bromus ciliatus
GENERAL BOTANICAL CHARACTERISTICS : Fringed brome is a nonrhizomatous, native perennial that is generally tufted [21,24,27]. Culms are slender, usually 1.7 to 4 feet (0.5-1.2 m) tall, but up to 5.2 feet (1.6 m) tall in the Great Plains [24,59]. The blades are flat, 0.12 to 0.6 inch (3-15 mm) wide and 6 to 10 inches (15-25 cm) long [25,59]. The panicle is narrowly elongate, 2.8 to 7.2 inches (7-18 cm) long with branches ascending to drooping [24,46]. Fringed brome has a well-developed root system [25]. RAUNKIAER LIFE FORM : Hemicryptophyte REGENERATION PROCESSES : Fringed brome reproduces exclusively from seed [25]. Seeds are nondormant and can show high germination rates. Tests were conducted by Hoffman [30] on herbaceous plants common in aspen understories of Colorado. Fringed brome exhibited a wide range of germination capacity. Tests were conducted with light and dark regimes, with or without stratification, and with a variety of thermoperiods. In 9 tests out of 14, fringed brome had 100 percent germination. The lowest germination rate recorded was 60 percent in a test in which light followed stratification [30]. Fringed brome is wind pollinated [25]. SITE CHARACTERISTICS : Fringed brome occurs in a variety of habitats including woodlands, forest openings, thickets, grasslands, shrublands, prairies, meadows, marshes, bogs, fens, and stream and lake margins [24,31,40,48,51,]. It is commonly found in moist places such as wet meadows, benches, and along streams [46,58]. Fringed brome also occurs on moist to seasonally dry, open or densely shaded habitats in valleys and montane zones [20,36]. Fringed brome grows best on moist to semiwet soils, but is tolerant of poorly drained and subirrigated conditions [13,40,54]. It grows best on loam, silty loam, and sand, but occurs on stony or bouldery substrates as well [13,15,39,59]. Soil pH ranges from 4.8 to 7.9 in Yellowstone National Park [40]. Elevations for fringed brome for several states and provinces are as follows: Arizona 6,000-11,000 feet (1,800-3,300 m) [7,43] California 3,630-10,560 feet (1,100-3,200 m) [27] Colorado 6,000-11,000 feet (2,700-3,350 m) [15,26] Michigan 600-750 feet (180-225 m) [33] New Mexico 7,500-12,000 feet (2,285-3,600 m) [17,43] New York 1,486-2,800 feet (445-840 m) [35] Utah 5,015-11,580 feet (1,520-3,510 m) [59] Wyoming 7,900 feet (2,400 m) [6] Ontario 1,551 feet (470 m) [54] Yukon Territory 2,440 feet (740 m) [52] SUCCESSIONAL STATUS : Facultative Seral Species Fringed brome occurs in seral and climax communities. It is shade tolerant, but also grows in some open habitats [35,36,40]. It is a facultative wetland species in Montana [10]. The aspen/fringed brome community type is successional to coniferous climax types in subalpine forests of Utah [47]. After major disturbances on Douglas-fir/fringed brome habitat type sites of New Mexico and Arizona, fringed brome quickly dominates the understory under aspen [1]. In heavily shaded microsites in white fir/screwleaf muhly (Muhlenbergia virescens) habitat types, fringed brome may become the dominant understory species [20]. In the Rocky Mountains of New Mexico, fringed brome is found in old-growth, intermediate-aged, and young-growth forests [17]. SEASONAL DEVELOPMENT : Fringed brome flowers from July to August in California, the Upper Great Plains, and New York [24,35,46]. It flowers in August in Tennessee, North Carolina, and West Virginia [49]. In Utah, fringed brome flowers in August and September [3]. It flowers from July to October in Arizona [32].


SPECIES: Bromus ciliatus
FIRE ECOLOGY OR ADAPTATIONS : Fringed brome has low tolerance to fires of moderate and high intensity [6]. The seeds of most plants can survive grass fires [67], so it is likely that seeds of fringed brome in grasslands survives fire. Seed survival is increased if the seeds are covered by soil [67]. POSTFIRE REGENERATION STRATEGY : Tussock graminoid Secondary colonizer - off-site seed


SPECIES: Bromus ciliatus
IMMEDIATE FIRE EFFECT ON PLANT : Fringed brome is probably top-killed by most fires, as are most grasses. In northwestern Wyoming, fringed brome was "harmed" by fires of moderate and high intensity. Moderate intensity fires killed most surface vegetation but did not remove all litter and duff and killed less than 90 percent of mature aspens. After 3 years, fringed brome did not show "appreciable recovery" from the fires [6]. DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF FIRE EFFECT : NO-ENTRY PLANT RESPONSE TO FIRE : Frequency and cover of fringed brome increased the third year following a spring prescribed fire in a western snowberry shrub community in central Alberta. The increase was greater on the unburned plot than the burned plot [5]. At Breakneck Ridge, Wyoming, a prescribed fire was conducted on August 29, 1974. Fringed brome and slender wheatgrass were the two most abundant grasses on the site. Fire intensities were classed as follows: light (<20% of vegetation consumed and very few overstory trees killed), moderate (21-80% of fine fuels and lesser vegetation consumed by fire and up to 90% of the mature trees killed), and high (81-100% of fine fuels consumed and over 90% of overstory trees killed) [6,64]. On the moderate-intensity burn site, grass cover decreased from 15 to 10 percent by postfire year 3; on the high-intensity burn site, a 66 percent drop occurred by postfire year 3. Fringed brome was affected most by the fire. By the end of postfire year 3, fringed brome had not shown an appreciable recovery on moderate or high intensity burn sites [64,65]. Production (air-dry kg/ha) of fringed brome before burning and in postfire year 3 on plots burned at three levels of intensity were as follows [6,64]: before burning light intensity moderate intensity high intensity 217 267 181 87 In southern Ontario, a low-intensity prescribed surface fire in an aspen (Populus spp.) woodland was conducted on two plots on May 8, 1972 and two more were burned on April 24, 1973. All plots were sampled in August of 1973. Fringed brome only occurred on the control sites, at 2.5 percent frequency [54]. DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF PLANT RESPONSE : The Research Project Summary Vegetation recovery following a mixed-severity fire in aspen groves of western Wyoming provides information on prescribed fire use and postfire response of plant community species, including fringed brome, that was not available when this species review was originally written. FIRE MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS : Grass fires in Douglas-fir/Arizona fescue habitats of which fringed brome is a member reduced the density of conifer seedlings and maintained grass cover, although specific effects on fringed brome were not described [20]. Aspen/fringed brome stands in subalpine forests of Utah have a moderate probability of being successfully prescribed burned, but only if livestock grazing is deferred for at least one season before burning. Postfire communities "quickly resemble prefire ones" [48].


SPECIES: Bromus ciliatus
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