Foxtail barley

Botanical Name ; Hordeum jubatum
Family: Poaceae
Genus: Hordeum
Species: H.
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Poales

Common Names :    Foxtail barley, Bobtail barley, Squirreltail barley, and Intermediate barley,

Habitat :Hordeum jubatum is found in   most areas of N. America to Siberia. An occasional casual in Britain. Grows on grassy bushy places below 2500 metres in California. However, as it escaped often from gardens it can be found worldwide in areas with temperate to warm climates, and is considered a weed in many countries.

Description:
Hordeum jubatum is a short-lived, perennial bunchgrass without rhizomes, growing 1 to 2 feet tall. It starts growth in late April to May, matures June to August, and reproduces from seeds and tillers.It is hardy to zone 5. It is in flower in June. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Wind.
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Seedhead:Nodding, bristly spike up to four inches long; readily breaks apart when mature; three spikelets per rachis node; center spikelet has a single, fertile floret and outside spikelets are small, empty, pedicelled; glumes and lemmas with rough awns up to two inches long, thus the bristly appearance.

Leaves: Glabrous or lower sheaths sometimes pubescent; blades flat, up to 3/8 inches wide and 5 inches long with raised veins on the upper surface; leaves rolled in the bud; ligules short, membranous and collar-shaped; auricles absent.

The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and requires well-drained soil. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It requires dry or moist soil and can tolerate drought.

Cultivation :
Prefers a rather dry soil and a sunny position. Succeeds in most soils and in climates ranging from sub-arctic to sub-tropical. Easily grown in light soils. Established plants are drought resistant. A very short-lived plant, it is often only an annual, though it often self sows a little.

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Propagation:
Seed – sow in situ in March or October and only just cover the seed. Make sure the soil surface does not dry out if the weather is dry. Germination takes place within 2 weeks. Division in spring. Very easy, larger clumps can be replanted direct into their permanent positions, though it is best to pot up smaller clumps and grow them on in a cold frame until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the spring.

Edible Uses:
Edible Parts: Seed.

Edible Uses: Coffee.

Seed – raw or cooked. The seed can be ground into a flour and used as a cereal in making bread, porridge etc. Native North Americans would eat the dry flour raw. The seed is exceedingly small and fiddly to use. The roasted seed is used as a coffee substitute.

Medicinal Uses:
The dry root can be wrapped, then moistened and used as a compress for styes in the eyes or on swollen eyelids.

Known Hazards : The barbed awns around the seeds can work their way into the gums and digestive tract of animals when the seed is eaten, causing irritation and inflammation. They can also work their way into the ears and eyes, sometimes causing blindness and even death.

Disclaimer:The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://digedibles.com/database/plants.php?Hordeum+jubatum
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hordeum_jubatum
http://extension.usu.edu/range/Grasses/foxtailbarley.htm
http://www.growsonyou.com/plant/slideshow/Hordeum_jubatum/31650

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