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Two-rowed Barley

Hordeum distichon

Please keep in mind that it is illegal to uproot a plant without the landowner's consent and care should be taken at all times not to damage wild plants. Wild plants should never be picked for pleasure and some plants are protected by law.
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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, Upright Brome Grass, Velvet Bent, Viviparous Fescue, Wall Barley, 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:
130 centimetres tall
Fields, grassland, roadsides, wasteland.

Green, no petals
Green spikes with awns of varying lengths depending on the exact species.
A single-seeded dry fruit, or grain, technically called a caryopsis.
An annual crop of the grass family. Barley has grass-like leaves. Green, long and linear.
Other Names:
Common Barley, European Barley, Two-row Barley.
Frequency (UK):

Similar Species

Other Information


Hordeum distichon, also known as two-row barley or European barley, is a species of grass that is native to Europe and Asia. It is a cereal grain that is commonly grown for food and animal feed, as well as for use in the production of beer, whiskey, and other alcoholic beverages. Hordeum distichon is a hardy plant that can grow in a wide range of climates and soil types. 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 distichon is a major crop plant and is one of the most widely cultivated species of barley in the world.


Two-rowed Barley (Hordeum distichon) is a species of cereal grain that is widely grown in many parts of the world. It is considered one of the oldest cultivated crops and has been used for food, animal feed, and as a raw material for brewing beer and whisky for centuries.

Here are some of the key features and benefits of Two-rowed Barley:

  1. Adaptability: Two-rowed Barley is able to grow in a wide range of environmental conditions and soil types, making it a versatile crop that can be grown in many regions.
  2. High Yield: This species of barley is known for its high yield, which is why it is a popular choice for farmers and agricultural industries.
  3. Nutritional Value: Two-rowed Barley is a nutritious food that is rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals. It is considered an excellent source of energy and is a staple food in many countries.
  4. Brewing: Two-rowed Barley is used as a key ingredient in the production of beer and whisky, providing the necessary sugars and starches for fermentation.
  5. Livestock Feed: This species of barley is also used as a primary source of food for livestock, as it is rich in essential nutrients that are required for the growth and maintenance of their health.
  6. Origin: Two-rowed Barley is believed to have originated in the Middle East, and it has been grown in Europe and Asia for thousands of years. Today, it is widely cultivated in many parts of the world, including Europe, Asia, North America, and Australia.
  7. Growth Cycle: Two-rowed Barley has a relatively short growth cycle, taking about 100-120 days from planting to harvest. This makes it a suitable crop for areas with short growing seasons.
  8. Malting: Two-rowed Barley is often malted before it is used in brewing, which involves soaking the barley in water and then drying it. This process activates the enzymes that convert the starches in the barley into fermentable sugars.
  9. Genetic Diversity: Two-rowed Barley is a genetically diverse species, and there are many different varieties available, each with its own unique traits and characteristics.
  10. Sustainability: Two-rowed Barley is a sustainable crop that is relatively low in inputs, making it an environmentally friendly choice. It is also often grown using traditional farming methods, which helps to maintain the health of the soil and reduce the impact of agriculture on the environment.
In conclusion, Two-rowed Barley is a fascinating crop with a rich history and a wide range of uses. From its adaptability and high yield to its nutritional value and role in brewing and livestock feed, it remains a valuable resource for many people around the world.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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