Foxtail Barley

Scientific Name:

Hordeum jubatum L.


Herbaceous Plant


Wide variety of open habitats


North America


Least Concern (IUCN Red List)

This species is


to the Truckee Meadows.


The leaves gray to green in color and can be found in an alternate leaf arrangement. When in bloom, the flower clusters are purple to pale green, and appear bushy like a foxtail. Foxtail barley is a perennial, cool season bunchgrass speies.

Fast Facts:

  • After it seeds, the awn (hair or bristle-like parts of plants) on the foxtail barley become pointy and can pierce the mouths of any livestock who eat it.

  • Although it is native, it can form a monocrop in disturbed areas and displace other native vegetation.

  • The common name, foxtail barley, comes from the fact that its bushy flower resembles a foxtail.

  • Foxtail barley thrives in a variety of habitats including pastures, roadsides, moist soils, alkaline and saline soils, and disturbed areas. However, it prefers poorly drained, wet soils and it is most abundant on the edge of sloughs and salt marshes.



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