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Hordeum vulgare L.

Barley

KingdomPlantaePlants, but not fungi, lichens, or algae
SubkingdomTracheobiontaVascular plants—plants with a “circulatory system” for delivering water and nutrients
DivisionMagnoliophytaFlowering plants, also known as angiosperms
ClassLiliopsidaMonocots (plants with a single seed leaf); includes the lily family
SubclassCommelinidaeDayflowers and spiderworts, and several others
OrderCyperalesFlowering plants including grasses
FamilyPoaceaeGrasses (but not sedges or rushes)
GenusHordeumAn ancient Latin name for barley, meaning “bristly,” for the long awns
SpeciesvulgareLatin for “common”

About plant names...

Barley isn’t just any grass—it has become the fourth most important cereal crop worldwide, after wheat, corn, and rice. It has served as a staple food, beer, and liquor source in many cultures, dating back as far as 10,000 years. Barley traces its name to the Old English name bere, which traces further back to the Latin farina, or “flour.” “Barn” originally meant “barley house.”

Barley is native to Eurasia and northeast Africa. In North America, it is found in the wild when it escapes cultivation, but it doesn’t persist for very long. It appears in disturbed habitats. It is an annual.

Plants: Stems are stout, 20-55" (50-140 cm).

Leaves: Leaf blades are glabrous (smooth), 3½-10" (9-25 cm) × ⅛-¾" (6-20 mm).

Flowers: There is a small floret on each spikelet.

Fruits: Spikes are comprised of sessile, densely packed spikelets, like tiny ears of corn. “Two-row” barley has a center fertile spikelet surrounded by sterile lateral spike­lets. “Six-row” barley has clusters of three sessile, fertile spikelets. Long nearly parallel upward-pointing narrow awns distinguish barley from other grasses. Awns are up to 6" (16 cm) long.

Edibility: An important food crop for livestock and people.

Online References:

Hordeum vulgare on gobotany.nativeplanttrust.org

Hordeum vulgare on Wikipedia

Hordeum vulgare on www.sciencedirect.com

Hordeum vulgare from the Jepson Manual

Hordeum vulgare (barley)

6/11/2014 · Conservation Area near Potanipo Pond, Brookline, New Hamp­shire
≈ 8 × 5" (19 × 13 cm)

Hordeum vulgare (barley)

6/11/2014 · Conservation Area near Potanipo Pond, Brookline, New Hamp­shire
≈ 5 × 8" (13 × 19 cm)

Hordeum vulgare (barley)

6/11/2014 · Conservation Area near Potanipo Pond, Brookline, New Hamp­shire
≈ 5 × 8" (13 × 19 cm)

Hordeum aegiceras Nees ex Royle

Hordeum distichon L.

Hordeum hexastichum L. orth. var.

Hordeum hexastichon L.

Hordeum irregulare Aberg & Wiebe

Hordeum sativum Pers.

Hordeum vulgare L. ssp. hexastichon (L.) Bonnier & Layens

Hordeum vulgare L. var. trifurcatum (Schltdl.) Alef.

 

Hordeum vulgare description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 6 Sep 2021.

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Hordeum vulgare (barley)

6/11/2014 · Conservation Area near Potanipo Pond, Brookline, New Hamp­shire
≈ 4½ × 8" (11 × 19 cm)

Hordeum vulgare (barley)

5/6/2011 · Kent Island, Mary­land
≈ 7 × 11" (18 × 27 cm)

Hordeum vulgare (barley)

6/11/2014 · Conservation Area near Potanipo Pond, Brookline, New Hamp­shire
≈ 5 × 8" (13 × 19 cm)

Hordeum vulgare (barley)

5/6/2011 · Kent Island, Mary­land
≈ 9 × 14" (23 × 35 cm)

Hordeum vulgare (barley)

5/6/2011 · Kent Island, Mary­land
≈ 8 × 12" (20 × 31 cm)

Range:

About this map...