Barley grass: Where in the World
habitat and range for barley grass

Hordeum leporinum is indigenous to the Mediterranean region. The species is a forage plant in the southern USSR, Argentina, and in portions of Australia. It is thought to have been introduced to North and South America, and to Australia, by the early nineteenth century. In North America, wild barley can be found from Maine and British Columbia to northern Mexico; it is absent in most midwestern states.

Barley grass: A Bit of Botany
a bit of botanical information about barley grass

Hordeum leporinum is a many branched, spreading, or nearly prostrate vigorous Winter annual herb, 15 to 60 cm high. It is a monocot of the Poaceae family. The seed, carried in florets, breaks from the head in groups of three. This dispersal unit consists of a central, fertile floret and two lateral, sterile florets. The glumes of the central spikelet and the inner glumes of the lateral spikelets are more or less broadened and flattened with hairs along their margin. The floret of the central spikelet is on a pedicel usually as long as the pedicels of the lateral spikelets, but the awns of the central spikelet itself are shorter than the lateral awns. The awn is 1.5 to 2.5 cm long, stiffly erect and spreading. Within the spikelet, the anthers are 0.8 to 1.5 mm long with a strongly bilobed base.

common names
& nomenclature

The Old English word for 'barley' was bære, and is cognate to the Latin word farina "flour". The word barn, which originally meant "barley-house", is also rooted in this word.

Also known as:
farmer's foxtail, hare barley, foxtail barley, leporinum barley, mouse barley, and barley grass

Barley grass: Cultivation & Harvesting
considerations for growing barley grass

Hordeum leporinum is highly adaptable and often found in temperate and adjacent subtropical areas, annual grasslands, oak savannah, open hillsides, agronomic crop fields, orchards, vineyards, landscaped areas, turf, managed forests, roadsides, unmanaged, disturbed sites, and moist sites.

Hordeum leporinum grows in disturbed soil of roadsides, irrigation ditches, vacant lots, crop edges, and garbage areas, usually considered a weed pest. Can grow on a variety of soil types, from clay to well-drained soil.

Hordeum leporinum is a vigorous winter annual. After flowering in the spring, the grass matures rapidly to produce a large number of viable seeds. These seeds easily disperse when the long awn attaches to stock and wildlife, and then to the soil. The majority of seeds remain dormant during the heat of the summer, not germinating until the autumn.

Sow seeds directly on outdoor soil, seeds can germinate easily when lying on or just below the soil surface in a variety of temperatures. Germination is usually within 12 days. A small proportion of seed may remain dormant, but viable, through the first growing season, insuring a seed source for the following year.

Cut just above the soil when the Grass is 6 -14 inches. In commercial production, juice is extracted from the young leaf blades and dried, then ground into a powder.

Store ground powder in a cool, dry place.