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Illustration Hordeum vulgare1.jpg
Drawing of barley
Scientific classification Red Pencil Icon.png
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Monocots
Clade: Commelinids
Order: Poales
Family: Poaceae
Subfamily: Pooideae
Genus: Hordeum
H. vulgare
Binomial name
Hordeum vulgare
Synonyms [2]
    • Frumentum hordeumE.H.L.Krause nom. illeg.
    • Frumentum sativumE.H.L.Krause
    • Hordeum aestivumR.E.Regel nom. inval.
    • Hordeum americanumR.E.Regel nom. inval.
    • Hordeum bifariumRoth
    • Hordeum brachyatherumR.E.Regel nom. inval.
    • Hordeum caspicumR.E.Regel nom. inval.
    • Hordeum coeleste(L.) P.Beauv.
    • Hordeum daghestanicumR.E.Regel nom. inval.
    • Hordeum defectoidesR.E.Regel nom. inval.
    • Hordeum durumR.E.Regel nom. inval.
    • Hordeum elongatumR.E.Regel nom. inval.
    • Hordeum gymnodistichumDuthie
    • Hordeum heterostychonP.Beauv. [Spelling variant]
    • Hordeum hexastichonL.
    • Hordeum hibernaculumR.E.Regel nom. inval.
    • Hordeum hibernansR.E.Regel nom. inval.
    • Hordeum himalayenseSchult.
    • Hordeum hirtiusculumR.E.Regel nom. inval.
    • Hordeum horsfordianumR.E.Regel nom. inval.
    • Hordeum ircutianumR.E.Regel nom. inval.
    • Hordeum jarenskianumR.E.Regel nom. inval.
    • Hordeum juliaeR.E.Regel nom. inval.
    • Hordeum kalugenseR.E.Regel nom. inval.
    • Hordeum karzinianumR.E.Regel nom. inval.
    • Hordeum kiarchanumR.E.Regel nom. inval.
    • Hordeum laevipaleatumR.E.Regel nom. inval.
    • Hordeum lapponicumR.E.Regel nom. inval.
    • Hordeum leptostachysGriff.
    • Hordeum macrolepisA.Braun
    • Hordeum mandshuricumR.E.Regel nom. inval.
    • Hordeum mandshuroidesR.E.Regel nom. inval.
    • Hordeum michalkowiiR.E.Regel nom. inval.
    • Hordeum nekludowiiR.E.Regel nom. inval.
    • Hordeum nigrumWilld.
    • Hordeum pamiricumVavilov nom. inval.
    • Hordeum parvumR.E.Regel nom. inval.
    • Hordeum pensanumR.E.Regel nom. inval.
    • Hordeum polystichonHaller
    • Hordeum praecoxR.E.Regel nom. inval.
    • Hordeum pyramidatumR.E.Regel nom. inval.
    • Hordeum revelatum(Körn.) A.Schulz
    • Hordeum sativumJess. nom. illeg.
    • Hordeum sativumPers. nom. inval.
    • Hordeum scabriusculumR.E.Regel nom. inval.
    • Hordeum septentrionaleR.E.Regel nom. inval.
    • Hordeum stassewitschiiR.E.Regel nom. inval.
    • Hordeum strobelenseChiov.
    • Hordeum taganrocenseR.E.Regel nom. inval.
    • Hordeum tanaiticumR.E.Regel nom. inval.
    • Hordeum tetrastichumStokes
    • Hordeum transcaucasicumR.E.Regel nom. inval.
    • Hordeum violaceumR.E.Regel nom. inval.
    • Hordeum walpersiiR.E.Regel nom. inval.
    • Secale orientaleSchreb. ex Roth nom. inval.

Barley (Hordeum vulgare), a member of the grass family, is a major cereal grain grown in temperate climates globally. It was one of the first cultivated grains, particularly in Eurasia as early as 10,000 years ago. [3] Globally 70% of barley production is used as animal fodder, [4] while 30% as a source of fermentable material for beer and certain distilled beverages, and as a component of various foods. It is used in soups and stews, and in barley bread of various cultures. Barley grains are commonly made into malt in a traditional and ancient method of preparation.


In 2017, barley was ranked fourth among grains in quantity produced (149 million tonnes or 330 billion pounds) behind maize, rice and wheat. [5]


Barley seeds with and without the outer husk Barley Seeds.jpg
Barley seeds with and without the outer husk
Seed under a microscope. Semechko iachmenia.jpg
Seed under a microscope.

The Old English word for barley was bere , which traces back to Proto-Indo-European and is cognate to the Latin word farina "flour" (see corresponding entries).

The direct ancestor of modern English barley in Old English was the derived adjective bærlic, meaning "of barley". [6] The first citation of the form bærlic in the Oxford English Dictionary dates to around 966 CE, in the compound word bærlic-croft. [7] The underived word bære survives in the north of Scotland as bere , and refers to a specific strain of six-row barley grown there. [8]

The word barn , which originally meant "barley-house", is also rooted in these words. [6]

The Latin word hordeum (see), used as barley's scientific genus name, is derived from an Indo-European root meaning "bristly" after the long prickly awns of the ear of grain.


Barley Barley (Hordeum vulgare) - United States National Arboretum - 24 May 2009.jpg
The cross-section of a barley root CSIRO ScienceImage 11626 Barley root.jpg
The cross-section of a barley root

Barley is a member of the grass family. It is a self-pollinating, diploid species with 14 chromosomes. The wild ancestor of domesticated barley, Hordeum vulgare subsp. spontaneum, is abundant in grasslands and woodlands throughout the Fertile Crescent area of Western Asia and northeast Africa, and is abundant in disturbed habitats, roadsides, and orchards. Outside this region, the wild barley is less common and is usually found in disturbed habitats. [3] However, in a study of genome-wide diversity markers, Tibet was found to be an additional center of domestication of cultivated barley. [9]


Wild barley (H. spontaneum) is the ancestor of domestic barley (H. vulgare). Over the course of domestication, barley grain morphology changed substantially, moving from an elongated shape to a more rounded spherical one. [10] Additionally, wild barley has distinctive genes, alleles, and regulators with potential for resistance to abiotic or biotic stresses to cultivated barley and adaptation to climatic changes. [11] Wild barley has a brittle spike; upon maturity, the spikelets separate, facilitating seed dispersal. Domesticated barley has nonshattering spikes, making it much easier to harvest the mature ears. [3] The nonshattering condition is caused by a mutation in one of two tightly linked genes known as Bt1 and Bt2; many cultivars possess both mutations. The nonshattering condition is recessive, so varieties of barley that exhibit this condition are homozygous for the mutant allele. [3]

Domestication in barley is followed by the change of key phenotypic traits at the genetic level. Little is known about the genetic variation among domesticated and wild genes in the chromosomal regions. [12]

Two-row and six-row barley

Two-row and six-row barley BarleyEars.JPG
Two-row and six-row barley

Spikelets are arranged in triplets which alternate along the rachis. In wild barley (and other Old World species of Hordeum), only the central spikelet is fertile, while the other two are reduced. This condition is retained in certain cultivars known as two-row barleys. A pair of mutations (one dominant, the other recessive) result in fertile lateral spikelets to produce six-row barleys. [3] Recent genetic studies have revealed that a mutation in one gene, vrs1, is responsible for the transition from two-row to six-row barley. [13]

Two-row barley, sometimes considered a separate species, Hordeum distichon , has a lower protein content than six-row barley, thus a more fermentable sugar content. High-protein barley is best suited for animal feed. Malting barley is usually lower protein [14] ("low grain nitrogen", usually produced without a late fertilizer application) which shows more uniform germination, needs shorter steeping, and has less protein in the extract that can make beer cloudy. Two-row barley is traditionally used in English ale-style beers, with two-row malted summer barley being preferred for traditional German beers.[ citation needed ]

Amylase-rich six-row barley is common in some American lager-style beers, especially when adjuncts such as corn and rice are used.[ citation needed ]

Hulless barley

Hulless or "naked" barley (Hordeum vulgare L. var. nudum Hook. f.) is a form of domesticated barley with an easier-to-remove hull. Naked barley is an ancient food crop, but a new industry has developed around uses of selected hulless barley to increase the digestible energy of the grain, especially for swine and poultry. [15] Hulless barley has been investigated for several potential new applications as whole grain, and for its value-added products. These include bran and flour for multiple food applications. [16]


Barley Hordeum-barley.jpg

In traditional classifications of barley, these morphological differences have led to different forms of barley being classified as different species. Under these classifications, two-row barley with shattering spikes (wild barley) is classified as Hordeum spontaneum K. Koch. Two-row barley with nonshattering spikes is classified as H. distichon L., six-row barley with nonshattering spikes as H. vulgare L. (or H. hexastichum L.), and six-row with shattering spikes as H. agriocrithon Åberg.[ citation needed ]

Because these differences were driven by single-gene mutations, coupled with cytological and molecular evidence, most recent classifications treat these forms as a single species, H. vulgare L. [3]




H. vulgare contains the phenolics caffeic acid and p-coumaric acid, the ferulic acid 8,5'-diferulic acid, the flavonoids catechin-7-O-glucoside, [25] saponarin, [26] catechin, procyanidin B3, procyanidin C2, and prodelphinidin B3, and the alkaloid hordenine.

Barley is often assessed by its malting enzyme content. [27]



Genetic analysis on the spread of barley from 9,000 to 2,000 BCE Genetic analysis on the spread of barley from 9000 to 2000 BCE.jpg
Genetic analysis on the spread of barley from 9,000 to 2,000 BCE

Barley was one of the first domesticated grains in the Fertile Crescent, an area of relatively abundant water in Western Asia, and near the Nile river of northeast Africa. [29] The grain appeared in the same time as einkorn and emmer wheat. [30] Wild barley (H. vulgare ssp. spontaneum) ranges from North Africa and Crete in the west, to Tibet in the east. [3] The earliest evidence of the consumption of wild barley in an archaeological context comes from the Epipaleolithic at Ohalo II at the southern end of the Sea of Galilee, where grinding stones with traces of starch were found. The remains were dated to about 23,000 BCE. [3] [31] The earliest evidence for the domestication of barley, in the form of cultivars that cannot reproduce without human assistance, comes from Mesopotamia, specifically the Jarmo region of modern-day Iraq, around 9,000-7,000 BCE. [32] [33] [34] [28]

Spread of cultivated barley: genetic analysis

One of the world's most important crops, barley was domesticated in the Near East around 11,000 years ago (circa 9,000 BCE). [28] Barley is a highly resilient crop, able to be grown in varied and marginal environments, such as in regions of high altitude and latitude. [28] Archaeobotanical evidence shows that barley had spread throughout Eurasia by 2,000 BCE. [28] To further elucidate the routes by which barley cultivation was spread through Eurasia, genetic analysis was used to determine genetic diversity and population structure in extant barley taxa. [28] Genetic analysis shows that cultivated barley spread through Eurasia via several different routes, which were most likely separated in both time and space. [28]


An account of barley rations issued monthly to adults (30 or 40 pints) and children (20 pints) written in cuneiform on clay tablet, written in year 4 of King Urukagina (circa 2350 BCE), from Girsu, Iraq, British Museum, London Issue of barley rations.JPG
An account of barley rations issued monthly to adults (30 or 40 pints) and children (20 pints) written in cuneiform on clay tablet, written in year 4 of King Urukagina (circa 2350 BCE), from Girsu, Iraq, British Museum, London

Some scholars suppose domesticated barley (Hordeum vulgare) originally spread from Central Asia to India, Persia, Mesopotamia, Syria and Egypt. [35] Some of the earliest domesticated barley occurs at aceramic ("pre-pottery") Neolithic sites, in the Near East such as the Pre-Pottery Neolithic B layers of Tell Abu Hureyra, in Syria.[ citation needed ] By 4200 BCE domesticated barley occurs as far as in Eastern Finland [36] and had reached Greece and Italy around the 4th c. BCE. [35] Barley has been grown in the Korean Peninsula since the Early Mumun Pottery Period (circa 1500–850 BCE) along with other crops such as millet, wheat, and legumes. [37]

Barley (known as Yava in both Vedic and Classical Sanskrit) is only[ citation needed ] crop which has been mentioned many times in Rigveda and other Indian scriptures as one of the principal grains in ancient India. [38] Traces of Barley cultivation have also been found in post-Neolithic Bronze Age Harappan civilization 5700–3300 years before present. [39]

In the Pulitzer Prize-winning book Guns, Germs, and Steel , Jared Diamond proposed that the availability of barley, along with other domesticable crops and animals, in southwestern Eurasia significantly contributed to the broad historical patterns that human history has followed over approximately the last 13,000 years; i.e., why Eurasian civilizations, as a whole, have survived and conquered others. [40] Jared Diamond's proposition was criticized, however, for underemphasizing individual and cultural choice and autonomy. [41]

Barley beer was probably one of the first alcoholic drinks developed by Neolithic humans. [42] Barley later on was used as currency. [42] The ancient Sumerian word for barley was akiti. In ancient Mesopotamia, a stalk of barley was the primary symbol of the goddess Shala. [43] Alongside emmer wheat, barley was a staple cereal of ancient Egypt, where it was used to make bread and beer. The general name for barley is jt (hypothetically pronounced "eat"); šma (hypothetically pronounced "SHE-ma") refers to Upper Egyptian barley and is a symbol of Upper Egypt. According to Deuteronomy 8:8, barley is one of the "Seven Species" of crops that characterize the fertility of the Promised Land of Canaan, and it has a prominent role in the Israelite sacrifices described in the Pentateuch (see e.g. Numbers 5:15). A religious importance extended into the Middle Ages in Europe, and saw barley's use in justice, via alphitomancy and the corsned.

Barley in Egyptian hieroglyphs
jt barley determinative/ideogram
jt (common) spelling
šma determinative/ideogram

Rations of barley for workers appear in Linear B tablets in Mycenaean contexts at Knossos and at Mycenaean Pylos. [44] In mainland Greece, the ritual significance of barley possibly dates back to the earliest stages of the Eleusinian Mysteries. The preparatory kykeon or mixed drink of the initiates, prepared from barley and herbs, referred in the Homeric hymn to Demeter, whose name some scholars believe meant "Barley-mother". [45] The practice was to dry the barley groats and roast them before preparing the porridge, according to Pliny the Elder's Natural History (xviii.72). This produces malt that soon ferments and becomes slightly alcoholic.

Pliny also noted barley was a special food of gladiators known as hordearii, "barley-eaters". However, by Roman times, he added that wheat had replaced barley as a staple. [46]

Tibetan barley has been a staple food in Tibetan cuisine since the fifth century CE. This grain, along with a cool climate that permitted storage, produced a civilization that was able to raise great armies. [47] It is made into a flour product called tsampa that is still a staple in Tibet. [48] The flour is roasted and mixed with butter and butter tea to form a stiff dough that is eaten in small balls.

In medieval Europe, bread made from barley and rye was peasant food, while wheat products were consumed by the upper classes. [46] Potatoes largely replaced barley in Eastern Europe in the 19th century. [49]


The genome of barley was sequenced in 2012, [50] due to the efforts of the International Barley Genome Sequencing Consortium and the UK Barley Sequencing Consortium.

The genome is composed of seven pairs [27] of nuclear chromosomes (recommended designations: 1H, 2H, 3H, 4H, 5H, 6H and 7H), and one mitochondrial and one chloroplast chromosome, with a total of 5000 Mbp. [51]

Abundant biological information is already freely available in several barley databases. [52]

The wild barley (H. vulgare ssp. spontaneum) found currently in the Fertile Crescent might not be the progenitor of the barley cultivated in Eritrea and Ethiopia, indicating that separate domestication may have occurred in eastern Africa. [53]

Being the final end product of food/feed barley and malting barley, both total yield by weight and malting quality are probably influenced by most genes, respectively. [27]

For durable disease resistance, quantitative resistance is more important than qualitative resistance. The most important foliar diseases have corresponding resistance gene regions on all chromosomes of barley. [27]


Barley has been crossed with wheat with mixed results that have yet to prove commercially viable. The resulting hybrids have further been crossed with rye, but with even more limited results. [54]


Barley production, 2020
Country(Millions of tonnes)
Flag of Russia.svg  Russia 20.94
Flag of Spain.svg  Spain 11.47
Flag of Germany.svg  Germany 10.77
Flag of Canada (Pantone).svg  Canada 10.74
Flag of France.svg  France 10.27
Flag of Australia (converted).svg  Australia 10.13
Flag of Turkey.svg  Turkey 8.30
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg  United Kingdom 8.12
Flag of Ukraine.svg  Ukraine 7.64
Flag of Argentina.svg  Argentina 4.48
Flag of Denmark.svg  Denmark 4.16
Flag of Kazakhstan.svg  Kazakhstan 3.66
Flag of the United States.svg  United States 3.60
Source: FAOSTAT of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, Statistics Division, 2020 [5]

In 2020, world production of barley was 157 million tonnes, led by Russia producing 13% of the world total. Spain, Germany, Canada, and France were major producers. [5]


Barley harvesting in Gaziantep, Turkey Barley-Turkyurdu Village-Gaziantep-ali riza.jpg
Barley harvesting in Gaziantep, Turkey

Barley is a widely adaptable crop. It is currently popular in temperate areas where it is grown as a summer crop and tropical areas where it is sown as a winter crop. Its germination time is one to three days. Barley grows under cool conditions, but is not particularly winter hardy.[ citation needed ]

Barley is more tolerant of soil salinity than wheat, which might explain the increase of barley cultivation in Mesopotamia from the second millennium BCE onwards. Barley is not as cold tolerant as the winter wheats (Triticum aestivum), fall rye (Secale cereale) or winter triticaleTriticosecale Wittm. ex A. Camus.), but may be sown as a winter crop in warmer areas of Australia and Great Britain.[ citation needed ]

Barley has a short growing season and is also relatively drought tolerant. [46]

Plant diseases

Barley is known or likely to be susceptible to barley mild mosaic bymovirus, [55] [56] as well as bacterial blight. Barley yellow dwarf virus, vectored by the rice root aphid, can also cause serious crop injury. [57] It can be susceptible to many diseases, but plant breeders have been working hard to incorporate resistance. The devastation caused by any one disease will depend upon the susceptibility of the variety being grown and the environmental conditions during disease development. Serious diseases of barley include powdery mildew caused by Blumeria graminis f.sp. hordei, leaf scald caused by Rhynchosporium secalis , barley rust caused by Puccinia hordei, crown rust caused by Puccinia coronata , and various diseases caused by Cochliobolus sativus . Barley is also susceptible to head blight.[ citation needed ]


Cooked barley
Barley grains 3.jpg
Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy 515 kJ (123 kcal)
28.2 g
Sugars 0.3 g
Dietary fiber 3.8 g
0.4 g
2.3 g
Vitamins Quantity
Vitamin A equiv.
0 μg
5 μg
56 μg
Thiamine (B1)
0.083 mg
Riboflavin (B2)
0.062 mg
Niacin (B3)
2.063 mg
Pantothenic acid (B5)
0.135 mg
Vitamin B6
0.115 mg
Folate (B9)
16 μg
Vitamin B12
0 μg
13.4 mg
Vitamin C
0 mg
Vitamin D
0 IU
Vitamin E
0.01 mg
Vitamin K
0.8 μg
Minerals Quantity
11 mg
0.105 mg
1.3 mg
22 mg
0.259 mg
54 mg
93 mg
3 mg
0.82 mg
Other constituentsQuantity
Water68.8 g
Cholesterol 0 mg

Percentages are roughly approximated using US recommendations for adults.


Barley, oats, and some products made from them Various grains.jpg
Barley, oats, and some products made from them

Cooked barley is 69% water, 28% carbohydrates, 2% protein, and 0.4% fat (table). In a 100-gram (3.5 oz) reference serving, cooked barley provides 515 kilojoules (123 kcal) of food energy and is a good source (10% or more of the Daily Value, DV) of essential nutrients, including, dietary fiber, the B vitamin, niacin (14% DV), and dietary minerals, including iron (10% DV) and manganese (12% DV) (table).


Hulled barley (or covered barley) is eaten after removing the inedible, fibrous, outer hull. Once removed, it is called dehulled barley (or pot barley or scotch barley). [58] Considered a whole grain, dehulled barley still has its bran and germ, making it a commonly consumed food.

Pearl barley (or pearled barley) is dehulled barley which has been steam-processed further to remove the bran. [58] It may be polished, a process known as "pearling". Dehulled or pearl barley may be processed into various barley products, including flour, flakes similar to oatmeal, and grits.[ citation needed ]

Barley meal, a wholemeal barley flour lighter than wheat meal but darker in colour, is used in gruel, [58] in contrast to porridge which is made from oats.

Barley meal gruel is known as سويق : sawīq in the Arab world. [59]

With a long history of cultivation in the Middle East, barley is used in a wide range of traditional Arabic, Assyrian, Israelite, Kurdish, and Persian foodstuffs including kashkak, kashk and murri. Barley soup is traditionally eaten during Ramadan in Saudi Arabia. [60]

Cholent or hamin (in Hebrew) is a traditional Jewish stew often eaten on Sabbath, in numerous recipes by both Mizrachi and Ashkenazi Jews.

In Eastern and Central Europe, barley is also used in soups and stews such as ričet. In Africa, where it is a traditional food plant, it has the potential to improve nutrition, boost food security, foster rural development, and support sustainable landcare. [61]

The six-row variety bere is cultivated in Orkney, Shetland, Caithness and the Western Isles in the Scottish Highlands and islands. When milled into beremeal, it is used locally in bread, biscuits, and the traditional beremeal bannock. [62]

In Japanese and Korean cuisines, barley is steamed like steamed rice. In Japanese, it is mixed with rice. Barley rice, called mugimeshi in Japanese, was long a peasant staple intended to conserve the expensive rice, but the naval surgeon Takaki Kanehiro introduced it into the institutional cooking to combat beriberi, endemic in the armed forces of the time. It remains a staple in the JSDF, but far more publicity it got as a stereotypical prison fare, to the point that "eating mugimeshi" can be heard as a euphemism of "doing time".

Health implications

According to Health Canada and the US Food and Drug Administration, consuming at least 3 grams per day of barley beta-glucan or 0.75 grams per serving of soluble fiber can lower levels of blood cholesterol, a risk factor for cardiovascular diseases. [63] [64]

Eating whole-grain barley, as well as other high-fiber grains, improves regulation of blood sugar (i.e., reduces blood glucose response to a meal). [65] Consuming breakfast cereals containing barley over weeks to months also improved cholesterol levels and glucose regulation. [66]

Like wheat, rye, and their hybrids and derivatives, barley contains gluten, which makes it an unsuitable grain for consumption by people with gluten-related disorders, such as celiac disease, non-celiac gluten sensitivity and wheat allergy sufferers, among others. [67] Nevertheless, some wheat allergy patients can tolerate barley or rye. [68]


Alcoholic beverages

Traditional floor malting of barley in Scotland HectorTurning.jpg
Traditional floor malting of barley in Scotland

Barley is a key ingredient in beer and whisky production. Two-row barley is traditionally used in German and English beers. Six-row barley was traditionally used in US beers, but both varieties are in common usage now. [69] Distilled from green beer, [70] whisky has been made primarily from barley in Ireland and Scotland, while other countries have used more diverse sources of alcohol, such as the more common corn, rye and wheat in the USA. In the US, a grain type may be identified on a whisky label if that type of grain constitutes 51% or more of the ingredients and certain other conditions are satisfied. [71] About 25% of the United States' production of barley is used for malting, for which barley is the best-suited grain. [72]

Barley wine is a style of strong beer from the English brewing tradition. Another alcoholic drink known by the same name, enjoyed in the 18th century, was prepared by boiling barley in water, then mixing the barley water with white wine and other ingredients, such as borage, lemon and sugar. In the 19th century, a different barley wine was made prepared from recipes of ancient Greek origin. [6]

Nonalcoholic beverages

Nonalcoholic drinks such as barley water [6] and roasted barley tea [73] have been made by boiling barley in water. In Italy, barley is also sometimes used as coffee substitute, caffè d'orzo (coffee of barley).

Other uses

Animal feed

Half of the United States' barley production is used as livestock feed. [74] Barley is an important feed grain in many areas of the world not typically suited for maize production, especially in northern climates—for example, northern and eastern Europe. Barley is the principal feed grain in Canada, Europe, and in the northern United States. [75] A finishing diet of barley is one of the defining characteristics of western Canadian beef used in marketing campaigns. [76]

As of 2014, an enzymatic process can be used to make a high-protein fish feed from barley, which is suitable for carnivorous fish such as trout and salmon. [77]


Barley straw used in a pond in Oud-Heverlee, Belgium Antialg in vijver Zoet Water Oud-Heverlee B.jpg
Barley straw used in a pond in Oud-Heverlee, Belgium

Barley straw, in England, is placed in mesh bags and floated in fish ponds or water gardens to help prevent algal growth without harming pond plants and animals. Barley straw has not been approved by the EPA for use as a pesticide and its effectiveness as an algae regulator in ponds has produced mixed results, with either more efficacy against phytoplankton algae versus mat-forming algae, or no significant change, during university testing in the US and the UK. [78]


Barley grains were used for measurement in England, there being three or four barleycorns to the inch and four or five poppy seeds to the barleycorn. [79] The statute definition of an inch was three barleycorns, although by the 19th century, this had been superseded by standard inch measures. [80] This unit still persists in the shoe sizes used in Britain and the USA. [81]

As modern studies show, the actual length of a kernel of barley varies from as short as 4–7 mm (532932 in) to as long as 12–15 mm (15321932 in) depending on the cultivar. [82] [83] Older sources stated the average length of a grain of barley to be 8.8 mm (0.345 in). [84]

The barleycorn was known as arpa in Turkish, and the feudal system in Ottoman Empire employed the term arpalik, or "barley-money", to refer to a second allowance made to officials to offset the costs of fodder for their horses. [85]


A new stabilized variegated variety of H. vulgare, billed as H. vulgare variegate, has been introduced for cultivation as an ornamental and pot plant for pet cats to nibble. [86]


In English folklore, the figure of John Barleycorn in the folksong of the same name is a personification of barley, and of the alcoholic beverages made from it: beer and whisky. In the song, John Barleycorn is represented as suffering attacks, death, and indignities that correspond to the various stages of barley cultivation, such as reaping and malting. [87]

See also

Related Research Articles

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Pyrenophora teres is a necrotrophic fungal pathogen of some plant species, the most significant of which are economically important agricultural crops such as barley. Toxins include aspergillomarasmine A and related compounds.

Aleurone is a protein found in protein granules of maturing seeds and tubers. The term also describes one of the two major cell types of the endosperm, the aleurone layer. The aleurone layer is the outermost layer of the endosperm, followed by the inner starchy endosperm. This layer of cells is sometimes referred to as the peripheral endosperm. It lies between the pericarp and the hyaline layer of the endosperm. Unlike the cells of the starchy endosperm, aleurone cells remain alive at maturity. The ploidy of the aleurone is (3n) as a result of double fertilization].

The cereal grain wheat is subject to numerous wheat diseases, including bacterial, viral and fungal diseases, as well as parasitic infestations.

Mash ingredients Product of mashing

Mash ingredients, mash bill, mashbill, or grain bill are the materials that brewers use to produce the wort that they then ferment into alcohol. Mashing is the act of creating and extracting fermentable and non-fermentable sugars and flavor components from grain by steeping it in hot water, and then letting it rest at specific temperature ranges to activate naturally occurring enzymes in the grain that convert starches to sugars. The sugars separate from the mash ingredients, and then yeast in the brewing process converts them to alcohol and other fermentation products.

Loose smut Species of fungus

Loose smut of barley is caused by Ustilago nuda. It is a disease that can destroy a large proportion of a barley crop. Loose smut replaces grain heads with smut, or masses of spores which infect the open flowers of healthy plants and grow into the seed, without showing any symptoms. Seeds appear healthy and only when they reach maturity the following season is it clear that they were infected. Systemic fungicides are the major control method for loose smut.

Triticeae glutens Seed storage protein in mature wheat seeds

Gluten is the seed storage protein in mature wheat seeds. It is the sticky substance in bread wheat which allows dough to rise and retain its shape during baking. The same, or very similar, proteins are also found in related grasses within the tribe Triticeae. Seed glutens of some non-Triticeae plants have similar properties, but none can perform on a par with those of the Triticeae taxa, particularly the Triticum species. What distinguishes bread wheat from these other grass seeds is the quantity of these proteins and the level of subcomponents, with bread wheat having the highest protein content and a complex mixture of proteins derived from three grass species.

<i>Gibberella zeae</i> Species of fungus

Gibberella zeae, also known by the name of its anamorph Fusarium graminearum, is a fungal plant pathogen which causes fusarium head blight (FHB), a devastating disease on wheat and barley. The pathogen is responsible for billions of dollars in economic losses worldwide each year. Infection causes shifts in the amino acid composition of wheat, resulting in shriveled kernels and contaminating the remaining grain with mycotoxins, mainly deoxynivalenol (DON), which inhibits protein biosynthesis; and zearalenone, an estrogenic mycotoxin. These toxins cause vomiting, liver damage, and reproductive defects in livestock, and are harmful to humans through contaminated food. Despite great efforts to find resistance genes against F. graminearum, no completely resistant variety is currently available. Research on the biology of F. graminearum is directed towards gaining insight into more details about the infection process and reveal weak spots in the life cycle of this pathogen to develop fungicides that can protect wheat from scab infection.

<i>Zymoseptoria tritici</i> Species of fungus

Zymoseptoria tritici, synonyms Septoria tritici, Mycosphaerella graminicola, is a species of filamentous fungus, an ascomycete in the family Mycosphaerellaceae. It is a wheat plant pathogen causing septoria leaf blotch that is difficult to control due to resistance to multiple fungicides. The pathogen today causes one of the most important diseases of wheat.

<i>Puccinia coronata</i> Species of fungus

Puccinia coronata is a plant pathogen and causal agent of oat and barley crown rust. The pathogen occurs worldwide, infecting both wild and cultivated oats. Crown rust poses a threat to barley production, because the first infections in barley occur early in the season from local inoculum. Crown rusts have evolved many different physiological races within different species in response to host resistance. Each pathogenic race can attack a specific line of plants within the species typical host. For example, there are over 290 races of P. coronata. Crops with resistant phenotypes are often released, but within a few years virulent races have arisen and P. coronata can infect them.

Wheat dwarf virus (WDV) is a pathogenic plant virus in the family Geminiviridae. The two isolates of WDV affect wheat and barley. It is spread by the leafhopper Psammotettix alienus.

Bere (grain) Scottish type of barley

Bere, pronounced "bear," is a six-row barley currently cultivated mainly on 5-15 hectares of land in Orkney, Scotland. It is also grown in Shetland, Caithness and on a very small scale by a few crofters on some of the Western Isles, i.e. North Uist, Benbecula, South Uist, Islay and Barra. It is probably Britain's oldest cereal in continuous commercial cultivation.

Bacterial leaf streak (BLS), also known as black chaff, is a common bacterial disease of wheat. The disease is caused by the bacterial species Xanthomonas translucens pv. undulosa. The pathogen is found globally, but is a primary problem in the US in the lower mid-south and can reduce yields by up to 40 percent.[6] BLS is primarily seed-borne and survives in and on the seed, but may also survive in crop residue in the soil in the off-season. During the growing season, the bacteria may transfer from plant to plant by contact, but it is primarily spread by rain, wind and insect contact. The bacteria thrives in moist environments, and produces a cream to yellow bacterial ooze, which, when dry, appears light colored and scale-like, resulting in a streak on the leaves. The invasion of the head of wheat causes bands of necrotic tissue on the awns, which is called Black Chaff.[14] The disease is not easily managed, as there are no pesticides on the market for treatment of the infection. There are some resistant cultivars available, but no seed treatment exists. Some integrated pest management (IPM) techniques may be used to assist with preventing infection although, none will completely prevent the disease.[2]

<i>Hordeum spontaneum</i> Species of grass

Hordeum spontaneum, commonly known as wild barley or spontaneous barley, is the wild form of the grass in the family Poaceae that gave rise to the cereal barley. Domestication is thought to have occurred on two occasions, first about ten thousand years ago in the Fertile Crescent and again later, several thousand kilometres further east.

Ancient grains Small, hard, dry seeds used as food

Ancient grains is a marketing term used to describe a category of grains and pseudocereals that are purported to have been minimally changed by selective breeding over recent millennia, as opposed to more widespread cereals such as corn, rice and modern varieties of wheat, which are the product of thousands of years of selective breeding. Ancient grains are often marketed as being more nutritious than modern grains, though their health benefits have been disputed by some nutritionists.

<i>Hordeum distichon</i> Species of plant in the genus Hordeum

Hordeum distichon, the common barley or two-rowed barley, is a cultigen of barley, family Poaceae. It is native to Iraq, and is widely grown throughout temperate regions of the world. Some authorities consider it a subspecies of six-rowed barley, Hordeum vulgare. It is the principal raw material for malting and brewing beer in Europe, as it is lower in protein than the six-rowed barley usually used in North America.



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General bibliography