Other names:Cultivated Barley.
Summary:Single to many stemmed grass with a cylindrical awned seed head and plump grain.
First leaves:Grow singly, similar to later leaves.
Leaves:Emerging leaf rolled in the bud.
Stems:Up to 1500 mm, hollow except at the nodes. Arise from the base and unbranched. Hairless.
Flower head:Spike, up to 150 mm long. Does not break up at maturity. Arranged in 2 rows of 3 spikelets.
Flowers:Spikelets - Persistent. Centre spikelet stalkless. Lateral spikelets on short stalks. In 2 rowed barley (var. distichon), lateral spikelets are empty. In 6 rowed barley (var. hexastichon) lateral spikelets are bisexual.
Fruit:Grain. Oval, grooved, awned glumes firmly attached.
Seeds:Pale yellow, oval grain, 4-8 mm long x 2-5 mm wide, with a brittle awn that is often broken off just above the grain. Husks are strongly attached to the grain.
Roots:Fibrous. About 1000 mm deep, occasionally deeper.
Key Characters:Spike does not break up at maturity. Awn of lemma of central spikelet is at least 50 mm long.
Physiology:Moderate tolerance of salinity. A 40% loss in production can be expected on soils with a soil conductivity of 15 mS/cm and a 10% loss at 9 mS/cm (Christinat and Stanley, 1994).
Flowering times:April, May and September in SA.
Seed Biology and Germination:Seed with husks had an after ripening period of 60 days and for de-husked seed it was 45 days (Gudkova, 1976).
Hybrids:Many commercial cultivars have been produced by hybridisation.
Allelopathy:Stubble may be reduce the germination and growth of plants in the following season.
Population Dynamics and Dispersal:Rarely persists for more than a season or two without the input of fresh seed from human sources such as planting or spillage from transporting vehicles.
Origin and History:Europe. Asia.
Distribution:ACT, NSW, QLD, SA, TAS, VIC, WA.
Soil:Most soil types.
Detrimental:Weed of other crops, occasional weed of roadsides and disturbed areas but generally not persistent.
Toxicity:May cause grain poisoning.
Symptoms:Depression then death.
Treatment:Introduce animals slowly to grain and stubbles.
Management and Control:Grazing and cultivation provide high levels of control.
Thresholds:In broadleaf crops, 5-10 plants/m2 are usually worth spraying.
Eradication strategies:Prevent spillage from transporting vehicles.
Herbicide resistance:None reported.
Biological Control:A number of diseases and viruses attack barley. The most significant in natural populations are Powdery Mildew and Barley Yellow Dwarf virus which is spread by aphids.
Related plants:Barley grass (H. leporinum) has much smaller seeds.
Plants of similar appearance:Wheat (Triticum aestivum) has smaller auricles that rarely encircle the stem. The grain is not tightly attached to the glumes.
References:Black, J.M. (1965). Flora of South Australia. (Government Printer, Adelaide, South Australia). P141-142.