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Common Name: Foxtail Barley
Hordeum jubatum is a perennial plant that can grow up to 0.30 metres tall.
It is harvested from the wild for local use as a food and medicine
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[
Most areas of N. America to Siberia. An occasional casual in Britain.
Grassy bushy places below 2500 metres in California.
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[
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[
The dry root can be wrapped, then moistened and used as a compress for styes in the eyes or on swollen eyelids[
Seed - sow in situ in early spring or early autumn 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.