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How to Identify Cheatgrass

Cheatgrass, Bromus tectorum, is a non-native winter or spring annual. It grows between one and three feet tall in disturbed, low-quality habitats. The leaf blades are covered with long, soft hairs.

When identifying this grass, look for its tall membranous ligule. The inflorescence is a panicle that curves strongly and droops, developing in late spring to early summer. Its elongated spikelets are held on pedicels, they have half-inch long awns, and they're covered in silky hairs. As the spikelets dry out in the late summer, they spread apart to form a distinctive v-shape.

This video is part of the Grasses at a Glance series by Natural Resources, Environment, and Energy Educator Erin Garrett, University of Illinois Extension. Explore the playlist. Read our blog Grasses at a Glance.