The British Cyclopaedia: Brome grass

The British Cyclopaedia
of the arts, sciences, history, geography, literature, natural history and biography; copiously illustrated by engravings on wood and steel by eminent artists.
Edited by Charles F. Partington, professor of mechanical philosphy, author of various works on natural and experimental philosophy, &c., assisted by authors of eminence in the various departments of science.
Complete in ten volumes.
Volume VI.
Natural history.
London: WM. S. Orr and Co., Amen Corner, Paternoster Row.
Brome grass is the Bromus (Greek name of wild oats) of Linnaeus. A family of grasses chiefly European, containing forty-seven species, of which twenty-seven are annuals. Twelve are natives of Britain, and occur on every hedge bank. The B. secalinus is too often met with in wheat crops; and as the seeds are large and heavy, are not easily separated from the wheat, in which, if the ray, as it is called by farmers, appear, a lower price is given. The seeds of this species of grass are far from being deleterious in bread, though the reverse is erroneously asserted: on the contrary, both the quantity and quality approach very nearly to the smaller varieties of oat. Indeed, for the purpose of feeding poultry, the B. secalinus or ray-grass, is well worth cultivation; for if sowed in October, it yields a bulky crop in the following summer, ripening along with the wheat. As a pasture or forage grass, it is however of no value, as the radical leaves are few in number, and the stems rigidly hard; and being an annual, is too fugitive for grazing purposes. The B. giganteus, with its two varieties, the triflorus and longifolius, being perennials, are admitted among others in laying down meadows. It is said that the panicles, cut before the seeds are ripe, have formerly been used to dye green. The seeds of the B. mollis are said to be fatal to poultry: if this really be so, geese are not included, as they will eat nothing else, if the seeds of the soft brome-grass is within reach; hence it is provincially called goose-grass. The B. asper is the tallest of British grasses, and often met with on the margins of moist woods.

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