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Hordeum jubatum (Foxtail barley)
Wasowski, Sally and Andy

Hordeum jubatum

Hordeum jubatum L.

Foxtail Barley

Poaceae (Grass Family)



USDA Native Status: L48 (N), AK (N), CAN (N), SPM (N)

Small and shiny. When in flower, the nodding clusters are purple to pale green, with many long, straight bristles; after flowering, the bristles frizz up, and the flower heads dry to a bleached tan and disintegrate easily.

In parts of the West, this grass is exceedingly common, carpeting roadsides and waste areas. In the presettlement prairies, it was probably one of the colonizers of temporarily bare soil. Beautiful as it is, this grass is unpopular with ranchers because the bristles pierce the mouths of the livestock that graze it.


From the Image Gallery

2 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Grass/Grass-like
Root Type: Fibrous
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Leaf Venation: Parallel
Inflorescence: Raceme
Fruit Type: Caryopsis
Size Notes: Up to about 32 inches tall.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White , Green , Purple
Bloom Time: May , Jun , Jul
Bloom Notes: The inflorescence appears whitish-green to light purple.


USA: AK , AR , AZ , CA , CO , CT , DC , DE , IA , ID , IL , IN , KS , KY , MA , MD , ME , MI , MN , MO , MT , NC , ND , NE , NH , NJ , NM , NV , NY , OH , OK , OR , PA , RI , SC , SD , TN , TX , UT , VA , VT , WA , WI , WV , WY
Canada: BC , NB , NL , NS , PE
Native Distribution: Throughout the United States, except for the Southeast.
Native Habitat: Waste places, roadsides, meadows, bare soil.

National Wetland Indicator Status

This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here for map of regions.

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Sibley Nature Center - Midland, TX

Herbarium Specimen(s)

NPSOT 0333 Collected May 22, 1987 in Bexar County by Harry Cliffe

1 specimen(s) available in the Digital Herbarium


Bibref 7 - Jepson Manual: Higher Plants of California (1993) Hickman, J.C. (ed.)

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Additional resources

USDA: Find Hordeum jubatum in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Hordeum jubatum in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Hordeum jubatum


Record Modified: 2011-08-16
Research By: TWC Staff

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