Index of Species Information

SPECIES:  Bromus vulgaris


SPECIES: Bromus vulgaris
AUTHORSHIP AND CITATION : Walsh, Roberta A. 1994. Bromus vulgaris. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: [].
ABBREVIATION : BROVUL SYNONYMS : NO-ENTRY SCS PLANT CODE : BRVU BRVUE BRVUR COMMON NAMES : Columbia brome narrow-flowered brome TAXONOMY : The currently accepted scientific name of Columbia brome is Bromus vulgaris (Hook.) Shear [4,21,22,32]. It is in the family Poaceae. The following varieties are accepted: B. v. var. vulgaris [22] B. v. var. eximius Shear [21,22] B. v. var. robustus Shear [21] LIFE FORM : Graminoid FEDERAL LEGAL STATUS : No special status OTHER STATUS : NO-ENTRY


SPECIES: Bromus vulgaris
GENERAL DISTRIBUTION : Columbia brome occurs from British Columbia south to the San Francisco Bay area and the central Sierra Nevada in California [20]; its range extends east to southwestern Alberta, western Montana, Wyoming, and Utah [8,18,21,27]. ECOSYSTEMS :    FRES20  Douglas-fir    FRES21  Ponderosa pine    FRES22  Western white pine    FRES23  Fir - spruce    FRES24  Hemlock - Sitka spruce    FRES25  Larch    FRES26  Lodgepole pine    FRES27  Redwood    FRES28  Western hardwoods    FRES36  Mountain grasslands    FRES37  Mountain meadows STATES :      CA  HI  ID  MT  OR  UT  WA  WY  AB  BC BLM PHYSIOGRAPHIC REGIONS :     1  Northern Pacific Border     2  Cascade Mountains     3  Southern Pacific Border     4  Sierra Mountains     5  Columbia Plateau     8  Northern Rocky Mountains     9  Middle Rocky Mountains KUCHLER PLANT ASSOCIATIONS :    K002  Cedar - hemlock - Douglas-fir forest    K003  Silver fir - Douglas-fir forest    K004  Fir - hemlock forest    K005  Mixed conifer forest    K006  Redwood forest    K007  Red fir forest    K008  Lodgepole pine - subalpine forest    K010  Ponderosa shrub forest    K011  Western ponderosa forest    K012  Douglas-fir forest    K013  Cedar - hemlock - pine forest    K014  Grand fir - Douglas-fir forest    K015  Western spruce - fir forest    K025  Alder - ash forest    K026  Oregon oakwoods    K028  Mosaic of K002 and K026    K047  Fescue - oatgrass    K063  Foothills prairie SAF COVER TYPES :    206  Engelmann spruce - subalpine fir    207  Red fir    210  Interior Douglas-fir    211  White fir    212  Western larch    213  Grand fir    215  Western white pine    218  Lodgepole pine    221  Red alder    224  Western hemlock    225  Western hemlock - Sitka spruce    226  Coastal true fir - hemlock    227  Western redcedar - western hemlock    229  Pacific Douglas-fir    230  Douglas-fir - western hemlock    232  Redwood    233  Oregon white oak    237  Interior ponderosa pine    243  Sierra Nevada mixed conifer    244  Pacific ponderosa pine - Douglas-fir    245  Pacific ponderosa pine    247  Jeffrey pine SRM (RANGELAND) COVER TYPES : NO-ENTRY HABITAT TYPES AND PLANT COMMUNITIES : Columbia brome is listed as an understory dominant in the following community classification: The phytosociology of some vine maple communities in the Mary's Peak   Watershed [1] Columbia brome is listed as diagnostic for the western sword fern-mycelis-salmonberry (Polystichum spp.-Mycelis [Lactuca] spp.-Rubus spectabilis) subassociation in the following publication: Relations between site index, salal, plant communities, and sites   in coastal Douglas-fir ecosystems [25] Besides those listed in the Kuchler Plant Associations, common associates of Columbia brome include huckleberry (Vaccinium spp.), willow (Salix spp.), manzanita (Arctostaphylos spp.), honeysuckle (Lonicera spp.), swamp currant (Ribes lacustre), sticky currant (Ribes viscosissimum), prince's pine (Chimaphila umbellata), Saskatoon serviceberry (Amelanchier alnifolia) [14], western coneflower (Rudbeckia occidentalis), bracted strawberrry (Fragaria vesca var. bracteata) [9], sweetroot (Osmorhiza spp.), Hooker fairybells (Disporum hookeri), and western goldthread (Coptis occidentalis) [42].


SPECIES: Bromus vulgaris
IMPORTANCE TO LIVESTOCK AND WILDLIFE : In California, Columbia brome is valuable livestock forage on both winter and summer ranges, particularly at higher elevations, although the greatest Columbia brome herbage production is at intermediate elevations.  It is almost always found in mixed stands with other grasses and forbs [36]. Elk grazed Columbia brome in clearcuts of western hemlock/pachistima (Tsuga heterophylla/Pachistima myrsinites) and grand fir (Abies grandis)/pachistima in the Idaho Panhandle National Forests.  Columbia brome was only grazed in the spring; it had average relative cover of 4.5 percent, but was grazed at 4.9 percent average use.  Columbia brome was not utilized in summer or fall, though it had average relative cover of 4.4 percent and 4.6 percent in those seasons.  Use was not measured in winter [23]. PALATABILITY : In California, palatability of Columbia brome is ranked high for livestock, being second only to California brome (Bromus carinatus) [36]. NUTRITIONAL VALUE : NO-ENTRY COVER VALUE : NO-ENTRY VALUE FOR REHABILITATION OF DISTURBED SITES : NO-ENTRY OTHER USES AND VALUES : NO-ENTRY OTHER MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS : Bromus vulgaris is considered nonweedy [8]. Columbia brome can be controlled with glyphosate [19]. Columbia brome response to grazing was studied in Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir/ninebark (Pseudotsuga menziesii var. glauca/Physocarpus malvaceus) habitat on the University of Idaho experimental forest in northern Idaho.  Columbia brome production was 1.8 pounds per acre (2 kg/ha) in ungrazed areas and 0.9 pounds per acre (1 kg/ha) in grazed areas.  However, Columbia brome cover and frequency were slightly higher in grazed stands:  Average cover was 1.3 percent in grazed and 0.7 percent in ungrazed areas.  Average frequency was 24.0 percent in grazed and 19.3 percent in ungrazed areas [45,46].


SPECIES: Bromus vulgaris
GENERAL BOTANICAL CHARACTERISTICS : Columbia brome is a native perennial bunchgrass [8,18,41].  Culms are slender, hollow, and 18 to 47 inches [45-120 cm) tall [20,21,36].  Leaf blades are flat [18].  The inflorescence is an open panicle [20]; branches are slender and spreading to drooping [22].  Spikelets are five- to seven-flowered.  Lemma are awned [20,32].  The fruit is a caryopsis [18]. RAUNKIAER LIFE FORM :       Hemicryptophyte REGENERATION PROCESSES : Columbia brome sprouts from perennating buds at the bases of culms [22]. It also reproduces by seed [36]. Columbia brome occurs in soil seedbanks but may not be plentiful.  In a seedbank study in grand fir/pachistima habitat in the Blue Mountains of northeastern Oregon, Columbia brome occurred in two of the three mixed conifer stands investigated.  Forest floor core samples were taken to test for seed germination.  Soil from a stand in which Columbia brome occurred with 0.6 percent cover and 26 percent frequency produced no Columbia brome seedlings from any soil layer.  Soil from a stand in which Columbia brome occurred with cover of 5.1 percent and frequency of 54 percent produced two Columbia brome seedlings from the litter and humus layer and none from mineral soil.  Soil samples from this stand produced 338 seedlings of 30 species [40]. SITE CHARACTERISTICS : Columbia brome is found on open or forested sites from sea level to lower subalpine mountain habitats [18,27] in moist to dry conditions [8,42].  It grows in shaded or open woods, on moist or dry streambanks [22], in seepage areas [2], rocky ravines [32], and on dry rocky slopes [22]. Columbia brome grows in soils of many types. In northern Idaho near the St. Joe River, Columbia brome occurs in soils with volcanic ash surface and sandy loam subsurface [19].  In Latah County, Idaho, it grows in deep, moderately well-drained loessal soil [29].  In the Coast Ranges of west-central Oregon, Columbia brome is found on soils of clay and silty clay loam; available moisture is high [1].  In the Crater Lake area of Oregon it occurs on deep, well-drained soils of volcanic origin with loam surface layers and clayey loam subsoils [30].  In Linn County, Oregon, Columbia brome is found on gray basalt soils from lava flows [35].  In the Blue Mountains of northeastern Oregon occurs on soils which include volcanic ash and are at least 53 inches (135 cm) deep [40].  Columbia brome in southwestern British Columbia is found on acidic loamy sand to sandy loam.  The soil nutrient regime is rich to very rich [25]. Columbia brome generally occurs in climates with cool, wet winters and warm, dry summers [30].  Snowpack often insulates it from extreme cold [35]. Columbia brome presence in seral shrub communities in northern Idaho was evaluated for correlation with several environmental variables. Frequency increased with elevation, from 16 percent at the lowest site measured (3,000 feet [914 m]) to 38 percent at the highest site (4,600 feet [1,402 m]).  There was no significant correlation between frequency and north or south exposure [31].  On the other hand Columbia brome was an indicator of north slopes and increasing elevation in the Blue Mountains of eastern Oregon and southeastern Washington [17]. Columbia brome is reported at the following elevations:                            Feet           Meters      California            0-6,234         0-1,900    [7,20,32]      Idaho             2,500-5,500       762-1,675    [3,15,19,29,38]      Montana           4,700-6,000     1,433-1,829    [8,44]      Oregon                0-6,500         0-1,981    [1,17,30,40,41]      Utah                  6,500           1,981      [8]      Washington        1,815-6,140       550-1,870    [11]      Wyoming               8,000           2,438      [8]      British Columbia        689             210      [25] SUCCESSIONAL STATUS : Facultative Seral Species Columbia brome occurs in open or shaded habitats [27] in many successional stages.  It is found on clearcuts [3,19], in seral shrubfields [19,31], and in mature undisturbed shaded forests [11,14,30,37]. Columbia brome occurs on seasonally disturbed gravel bars in the Flathead River, northwestern Montana [28]. Columbia brome occurs with red alder (Alnus rubra) in the Alsea River drainage of the Oregon Coast Ranges.  Red alder is a pioneer species whose establishment within the study area requires disturbance [6]. Columbia brome occurred in grand fir/wild ginger (Asarum caudatum) habitat in northern Idaho with 20 percent cover 0 to 30 years after a low soil displacement clearcut which was seeded with grass.  Some seed used on the site probably contained Columbia brome [47].  Columbia brome occurred with 1 to 3 percent cover in other clearcuts of low and high soil displacement where grasses were not seeded [15,24]. Columbia brome in seral shrub communities in northern Idaho reached highest frequencies under conditions of partial shading [31]. Columbia brome in grand fir/pachistima habitat in the Clearwater Mountains of north-central Idaho was studied for possible correlation between presence and overstory structure.  Graminoid production was not significantly correlated with any of the measured overstory parameters. In undisturbed forest, Columbia brome had a constancy of 90 percent, canopy coverage of 7 percent, and frequency of 25 percent; it contributed more to understory production than any other graminoid. Soil nutrient status was probably the major factor determining growth response of Columbia brome under these shaded conditions [33]. SEASONAL DEVELOPMENT : Columbia brome phenology at Nash Crater lava flows in Linn County, Oregon, was recorded from the middle of May to the last of September 1949.  Columbia brome began flowering the second week of June and completed flowering the last week of June, when fruiting began; fruiting continued through the first week of September [35]. In California, Columbia brome flowers and fruits from May to August [32].  In western Oregon and southwestern Washington, it flowers and fruits from June through August [18,41].


SPECIES: Bromus vulgaris
FIRE ECOLOGY OR ADAPTATIONS : Columbia brome has basal culm buds which may sprout after aerial portions are burned [18,41].  If thick tufts form, they may protect the basal buds from fire damage. POSTFIRE REGENERATION STRATEGY :    Tussock graminoid    Ground residual colonizer (on-site, initial community)


SPECIES: Bromus vulgaris
IMMEDIATE FIRE EFFECT ON PLANT : Columbia brome culms are probably killed by fire. DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF FIRE EFFECT : NO-ENTRY PLANT RESPONSE TO FIRE : Columbia brome usually decreases [3] or is neutral [38,44] in response to fire.  However, occasional increases occur [9,12]. DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF PLANT RESPONSE : Several studies of the effects of logging and burning include information on Columbia brome response. In a ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa) forest in northern Idaho, Columbia brome decreased after fire [3].  See FIRE CASE STUDY. In seral shrub communities in the cedar-hemlock (Thuja-Tsuga spp.) zone of northern Idaho, Columbia brome was significantly more frequent in unburned stands than in broadcast burned stands.  Presence of Columbia brome in stands with different disturbance histories was as follows [31]:                                       Percent Frequency      Closed stand, no disturbance            47      Logged, no Burn                         38      Logged, piled and burned                32      Single broadcast burn                   16      Multiple broadcast burns                21 Columbia brome was considered neutral with respect to fire in mixed forests of Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir, grand fir, and western redcedar (Thuja plicata) on the Priest River Experimental Forest in northern Idaho.  Columbia brome was present in plots that had been logged and then given treatments of no fire, a moist fuels underburn in June 1989, or a dry fuels underburn in September 1989.  Pretreatment cover estimates were made during the summer before logging began. Posttreatment cover estimates were made for both fire and no fire units in the summer of the year after the fires.  Columbia brome was present with the following percent cover [38]:                            Moist Fuels           Dry Fuels           No Fire             Fire                 Fire        pre-    post-       pre-    post-        pre-    post-      logging   fire      logging   fire       logging   fire        1.9     0.2         1.7     0.2          1.5     0.1 Vegetation in plots on burned slash piles in the Mission Mountains in northwestern Montana was compared with vegetation in plots adjacent to the slash piles which had not burned.  Each logging site had 40 burned and 40 unburned quadrats.  The slash piles had been burned 2 to 15 years (average 8.8 years) before evaluation.  Average frequency of Columbia brome was 5.6 percent higher on burned plots than on unburned plots, but this change was not statistically significant; Columbia brome was considered neutral with respect to fire [44]. Columbia brome in the Swan Valley of northwestern Montana was apparently favored in mixed coniferous stands which had been logged, logged and burned, or burned only.  Columbia brome occurred in undisturbed forests with presence of 36 percent and cover of 2 percent.  In treated plots (all treatments considered together), Columbia brome had presence of 46 percent and cover of 3 percent.  Percent presence and average percent cover were based on plots of occurrence [12]. Columbia brome was also favored by disturbance in grand fir/pachistima and grand fir/twinflower (Linnaea borealis) forests in the Blue Mountains of northeastern Oregon.  Stands were logged and broadcast burned to reduce slash.  Columbia brome germination and establishment was enhanced in those areas with deeply churned soils and heavily burned spots [9]. For further information on Columbia brome response to fire in a ponderosa pine community, see Fire Case Studies. From the same Fire Study, the Research Project Summary Understory recovery after low- and high-intensity fires in northern Idaho ponderosa pine forests provides information on prescribed fire and postfire response of Columbia brome and other ponderosa pine plant community associates. FIRE MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS : NO-ENTRY


SPECIES: Bromus vulgaris
FIRE CASE STUDY CITATION : Walsh, Roberta A., compiler. 1994. Effects of low- and high-intensity understory burning on Columbia brome in Benewah County, Idaho. In: Bromus vulgaris. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: []. REFERENCE : Armour, Charles D.; Bunting, Stephen C.; Neuenschwander, Leon F. 1984. Fire intensity effects on the understory in ponderosa pine forests. Journal of Range Management. 37(1): 44-48. [3]. SEASON/SEVERITY CLASSIFICATION : fall/low intensity fall/high intensity STUDY LOCATION : Coeur d'Alene Indian Reservation, Benewah County, Idaho PREFIRE VEGETATIVE COMMUNITY : Prefire vegetation was dominated by seral stands of ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa var. ponderosa) with Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii var. glauca) and an understory of shrubs and perennial graminoids. Prominent shrubs included oceanspray (Holodiscus discolor), ninebark (Physocarpus malvaceus), chokecherry (Prunus virginiana), baldhip rose (Rosa gymnocarpa), and common snowberry (Symphoricarpos albus). Prominent graminoids included Columbia brome (Bromus vulgaris), bluebunch wheatgrass (Pseudoroegneria spicatum), pinegrass (Calamagrostis rubescens), blue wildrye (Elymus glaucus), and Idaho fescue (Festuca idahoensis). TARGET SPECIES PHENOLOGICAL STATE : Phenological state of Columbia brome was not given.  Since the fires were conducted in the fall of 1978 it was probably approaching senescence. SITE DESCRIPTION : Elevation of the study area is approximately 2,887 feet (880 m) on gently rolling hills.  Average annual precipitation is 22 inches (560 mm), the majority of which falls from October to March.  A 3.9-inch (10-cm) layer of volcanic ash from the May 18, 1980, eruption of Mount St. Helens was present on the soil.  The study area had been selectively logged three times at 10-year intervals, the last in 1977. The sites had not burned for 44 to 62 years.  Prior to fire suppression, the sites had a mean fire return interval of approximately 22 years. Grazing by domestic livestock had not occurred on the sites for at least 30 years. FIRE DESCRIPTION : Three fire treatments were employed:  unburned control, low-intensity, and high-intensity fires.  Three areas of similar stand history and composition were each subdivided into nine 0.5 to 2.47 acre (0.2-1.0 ha) units and burned under under varying temperature, fuel moisture, and relative humidity conditions, resulting in fires of varying intensity. Three replications of unburned, low-, and high-intensity treatments were sampled within each location.  Fireline intensity ranged from 25 to 194 kcal/m-s on low-intensity sites; it ranged from 30 to 3,034 kcal/m-s on high-intensity sites.  Flame length averaged 2.95 feet (0.9 m), with a range of 0.33 to 5.58 feet (0.1- 1.7 m), for both fire intensities. More duff was consumed on high- than on low-intensity sites.  The average depth of duff on the unburned sites was 2.6 inches (6.6 cm); the depth on low-intensity sites after burning was 1.6 inches (4.0 cm); the depth on high-intensity sites was 0.5 inches (1.3 cm). FIRE EFFECTS ON TARGET SPECIES : Columbia brome decreased after fire.  The reduction was the result of prolonged duff smoldering which destroyed rhizomes. Mean canopy cover and frequency of Columbia brome after fire treatments were:                              Fireline Intensity                            Control         Low          High         Cover          0.7 a         0.3 b        0.3 b         Frequency     15.5 a         7.7 b        4.6 b                                    Postfire Year                          1            2            3         Cover           0.5 a        0.7 a        0.2 b         Frequency       9.1 b       14.5 a        4.2 c Means within a row followed by the same letters are not significantly different (p<0.1). There was an unexpected rise in Columbia brome frequency from 1979 to 1980 in all treatments.  This was probably due to the volcanic ash layer resulting from the Mount St. Helens eruption rather than to any fire effects.  The ash cap acted as a moisture barrier, retarding evaporation.  By 1981 this cap had broken up. FIRE MANAGEMENT IMPLICATIONS : The response of Columbia brome to fire appeared to vary with the amount of duff reduction, regardless of fireline intensity.  High-intensity fires were conducted when fuels were drier than they were for low-intensity fires.  The reduction of Columbia brome was the result of rhizome destruction.  In order to preserve as much Columbia brome cover on a site as possible, fires should be conducted when the duff is moist.


SPECIES: Bromus vulgaris
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