Bromus arenarius


Bromus: From the ancient Greek word bromos, referring to a kind of oat
arenarius: sand dweller

Common Name(s)

sand brome

Current Conservation Status

2012 - At Risk - Naturally Uncommon

Conservation status of New Zealand indigenous vascular plants, 2012
The conservation status of all known New Zealand vascular plant taxa at the rank of species and below were reassessed in 2012 using the New Zealand Threat Classification System (NZTCS). This report includes a statistical summary and brief notes on changes since 2009 and replaces all previous NZTCS lists for vascular plants. Authors: Peter J. de Lange, Jeremy R. Rolfe, Paul D. Champion, Shannel P. Courtney, Peter B. Heenan, John W. Barkla, Ewen K. Cameron, David A. Norton and Rodney A. Hitchmough. File size: 792KB

Previous Conservation Status

2009 - At Risk - Naturally Uncommon
2004 - Sparse


2012 - EF, SO, Sp
2009 - EF, SO


Bromus arenarius Labill.



Flora Category

Vascular - Native

NVS Species Code


The National Vegetation Survey (NVS) Databank is a physical archive and electronic databank containing records of over 94,000 vegetation survey plots - including data from over 19,000 permanent plots. NVS maintains a standard set of species code abbreviations that correspond to standard scientific plant names from the Ngä Tipu o Aotearoa - New Zealand Plants database.

Structural Class



None in New Zealand


Indigenous. In New Zealand known from mainly coastal locations from the Three Kings Islands south to Mahia Peninsula, thence disjunct to Wellington Harbour, and the Chatham Islands. It has been found once in the South Island, inland at Molesworth in Marlborough. Also on Norfolk Island and along the eastern side of Australia


Coastal to lowland (with one montane record from Marlborough). A species of open rocky ground. coastal cliff faces, scree and boulderfield. Often associated with sea bird nesting grounds, especially gulls.


Yellow-green annual 200-860 mm tall, tufted or solitary, basal leaves withering at or before flowering. Leaf-sheath densely villous. Ligule 1-2.6 mm, lacerate. Leaf-sheath 70-300 x 1.7-5 mm, densely villous. Culm 150-600(-800) mm, erect or geniculate-ascending, internodes pubescent below panicle. Panicle 70-260 mm, lax, nodding; branches filiform, curving. Spikelets 30-40 mm, 5-8-flowered, numerous, loosely hairy, oblong-lanceolate to wedge-shaped. Glumes unequal, acute, acuminate, apery, covered within long fine hairs; lower 7-9.5 mm, 3-nerved, narrow oblong-lancelate, upper 9.5-13 mm, 5-7-nerved, narrow elliptic-lanceolate. Lemma 11-14 mm, 7-9-nerved, rounded, papery, oblong- to narrowly elliptic-lanceolate, covered with long fine hairs, apex sometimes entire or with 2-acute lobes, awn 14-20 mm, arising 2 mm below lemma apex. Palea ¾ length of lemma, keels sparsely long-ciliate, interkeel glabrous. Callus with minute hairs. Rachilla 1.2 mm, pubescent. Anthers 0.8-1.5 mm.

Similar Taxa

A distinctive late winter to spring time annual, which has usually dried off by December. It can be distinguished from all other bromes naturalised in New Zealand by the 3-nerved lower glume, and 5-7-nerved upper glume, loosely hairy spikelets, and by the glabrous interkeels of the palea.





Propagation Technique

An annual. Easily grown from fresh seed. Rather attractive when flowering.


Although not really threatened this species is never particularly common anywhere. It has a naturally sporadic distribution.

Chromosome No.

2n = 28

Endemic Taxon


Endemic Genus


Endemic Family


Where To Buy

Not commercially available

Cultural Use/Importance

Although Edgar & Connor (2000, Flora of New Zealand Vol. V) regard this species as an early European introduction, the reason for this decision was not given (though one assumes this is because early collections were made from the vicinity of ports), but as its seeds are bird dispersed, and its ecology and distribution shows strong links to sea bird nesting grounds, it is just as likely that it is indigenous here. Prior to the publication of Flora V B. arenarius had always been regarded as indigenous. Despite the decision made by Edgar & Connor (2000) NZPCN see no reason to regard this species as any thing other than indigenous.


Description modified from Edgar and Connor (2000)

References and further reading

Edgar E. and H. Connor. 2000. Flora of New Zealand. Volume 5. Manaaki Whenua Press: Lincoln, New Zealand.

This page last updated on 14 Aug 2014