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Wall Barley

Hordeum murinum

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Poaceae (Grass)
Also in this family:
Alpine Catstail, Alpine Foxtail, Alpine Meadow-grass, Annual Beard-grass, Annual Meadow-grass, Arrow Bamboo, Barren Brome Grass, Bearded Couch Grass, Bearded Fescue, Bermuda Grass, Black Bent, Black Grass, Blue Fescue, Blue Moor-grass, Bog Hair-grass, Borrer's Saltmarsh Grass, Bread Wheat, Bristle Bent, Brown Bent, Brown Sedge, Bulbous Foxtail, Bulbous Meadow-grass, California Brome Grass, Canary Grass, Carnation Sedge, Cocksfoot, Cockspur, Common Bent, Common Cord-grass, Common Millet, Common Reed, Common Saltmarsh Grass, Compact Brome Grass, Corn, Couch Grass, Creeping Bent, Creeping Soft-grass, Crested Dog's-tail, Crested Hair-grass, Cultivated Oat, Curved Hard Grass, Cut Grass, Dense Silky Bent, Downy Oat-grass, Drooping Brome Grass, Drooping Tor Grass, Dune Fescue, Early Hair-grass, Early Meadow-grass, Early Sand-grass, False Brome Grass, False Oat-grass, Fern Grass, Fine-leaved Sheep's Fescue, Flattened Meadow-grass, Floating Sweet-grass, Foxtail Barley, French Oat, Giant Fescue, Glaucous Meadow-grass, Great Brome Grass, Greater Quaking Grass, Grey Hair-grass, Hairy Brome Grass, Hairy Finger-grass, Hard Fescue, Hard Grass, Harestail Grass, Heath Grass, Holy Grass, Hybrid Marram Grass, Italian Rye Grass, Knotroot Bristlegrass, Lesser Hairy Brome Grass, Lesser Quaking Grass, Loose Silky Bent, Lyme Grass, Marram Grass, Marsh Foxtail, Mat Grass, Mat-grass Fescue, Meadow Barley, Meadow Fescue, Meadow Foxtail, Meadow Oat-grass, Mountain Melick, Narrow-leaved Meadow-grass, Narrow-leaved Small-reed, Neglected Couch Grass, Nit Grass, Orange Foxtail, Pampas Grass, Perennial Rye Grass, Plicate Sweet-grass, Purple Moor-grass, Purple Small-reed, Purple-stem Catstail, Quaking Grass, Ratstail Fescue, Red Fescue, Reed Canary Grass, Reed Sweet-grass, Reflexed Saltmarsh Grass, Rescue Grass, Rough Meadow-grass, Rush-leaved Fescue, Sand Catstail, Sand Couch Grass, Scandinavian Small-reed, Scottish Small-reed, Sea Barley, Sea Couch Grass, Sea Fern Grass, Sheep's Fescue, Silver Hair-grass, Six-rowed Barley, Slender Brome Grass, Small Cord-grass, Small Sweet-grass, Smaller Catstail, Smooth Brome Grass, Smooth Cord-grass, Smooth Finger-grass, Smooth Meadow-grass, Soft Brome Grass, Somerset Hair-grass, Sorghum, Spreading Meadow-grass, Squirreltail Fescue, Stiff Brome Grass, Stiff Saltmarsh Grass, Sweet Vernal Grass, Tall Fescue, Timothy Grass, Tor Grass, Tufted Hair-grass, Two-rowed Barley, Upright Brome Grass, Velvet Bent, Viviparous Fescue, Wavy Hair-grass, Wavy Meadow-grass, Whorl Grass, Wild Oat, Wood Barley, Wood Fescue, Wood Meadow-grass, Wood Melick, Wood Millet, Yellow Oat-grass, Yorkshire Fog
Life Cycle:
Annual or Perennial
Maximum Size:
50 centimetres tall
Grassland, hedgerows, roadsides, walls, wasteland.

Green, no petals
Bristly flower spikes reaching up to 10cm in length, although seldom that long. Wind pollinated.
A flattened, globular caryopsis. A caryopsis is a type of one-seeded, dry fruit, typical of grasses and cereal crops.
An annual species of grass with long, stiff awns. The awns reach 3cm in length. The leaves also have long basal auricles. The sheaths are flat and hairy. This is the commonest species of Barley which grows wild in the UK.
Other Names:
Barley Grass, False Barley, Hare Barley, Mouse Barley, Smooth Barley.
Frequency (UK):

Similar Species

Other Information


Hordeum murinum, also known as wall barley or false barley, is a species of grass that is native to Europe and Asia. It is a common weed that is found in a variety of habitats, including grasslands, meadows, fields, and along roadsides. Hordeum murinum is a hardy plant that can grow in a wide range of soils and climates. It has thin, upright stalks that can reach heights of up to 1 meter (3 feet) and has long, narrow leaves that are a bright green color. The plant produces small, inconspicuous flowers that are followed by small, hard seeds that are contained in a hull. Hordeum murinum is considered a weed in many areas because it can outcompete native plants for resources and can alter the structure and function of natural ecosystems.


Wall Barley (Hordeum murinum) is a type of wild barley that is commonly found in Europe, Asia, and North Africa. It is a hardy plant that grows well in poor soil and rocky conditions, which is why it is often found in areas that are not suitable for other crops.

One of the key features of Wall Barley is its ability to grow quickly and reach maturity in just a few weeks, which makes it an ideal plant for farmers who are looking for a fast crop. It is also highly resistant to disease and pests, making it a low-maintenance crop that can be grown with minimal inputs.

In addition to its practical benefits, Wall Barley also has a number of nutritional benefits. It is high in fiber, protein, and antioxidants, and it is also a good source of vitamins and minerals such as iron, magnesium, and B vitamins.

While Wall Barley is not as well-known as other types of barley, it is gaining popularity among health-conscious consumers who are looking for alternative sources of protein and fiber. It is often used in soups, stews, and other dishes, and it can also be ground into flour and used to make bread, pasta, and other baked goods.

Wall Barley has a long history of use as a food crop. In fact, evidence of its cultivation dates back thousands of years to the ancient civilizations of the Middle East. In these early cultures, Wall Barley was valued for its ability to grow quickly and provide a reliable source of food, even in challenging conditions.

In addition to its use as a food crop, Wall Barley has also been used for medicinal purposes. The ancient Greeks and Romans used Wall Barley to treat a variety of conditions, including digestive issues, skin problems, and respiratory illnesses.

Today, Wall Barley is grown on a small scale in many countries, but it is not widely cultivated on a large scale. This is because it is often overshadowed by other types of barley that are more commonly grown, such as spring barley and winter barley.

Despite its relative obscurity, Wall Barley is a valuable plant that deserves more attention. With its fast growth rate, disease resistance, and nutritional benefits, it is a crop that has a lot of potential for farmers and consumers alike.

In recent years, there has been an increasing interest in promoting the use of Wall Barley as a sustainable food crop. This is due to its ability to grow in challenging conditions and its low environmental impact, compared to other crops.

Wall Barley can be grown using organic methods and it requires fewer inputs than many other crops, making it a more environmentally friendly option. In addition, its quick growth rate and disease resistance also make it a more resilient crop, which is important in a world where climate change is causing growing conditions to become increasingly unpredictable.

There are also efforts underway to promote the use of Wall Barley as a food crop in developing countries. This is because it is a highly nutritious crop that can be grown in areas with limited resources, providing a source of food and income for small-scale farmers.

Finally, Wall Barley is also being used as a cover crop in many areas. This means that it is grown in between other crops to help improve soil health and reduce erosion. Its fast growth rate and deep roots make it an effective cover crop, which can help to improve soil fertility and reduce the need for chemical fertilizers.

In conclusion, Wall Barley is a crop with a lot of potential for promoting sustainability and reducing environmental impact. Its ability to grow in challenging conditions, its low inputs, and its nutritional benefits make it a valuable crop for farmers, consumers, and the environment.


Wall Barley filmed at Lytham St. Anne's in Lancashire on the 12th June 2023.


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Distribution Map

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