An Illustrated Guide to ARIZONA WEEDS

The University of Arizona Press

WILD BARLEY, common foxtail



WILD BARLEY-Hordeum leporinum Link

DESCRIPTION-A many branched, spreading, or nearly prostrate annual, 6 to 20 inches high, which reproduces by seed. The broad, flat leaf blades are 1 1/2 to 4 inches long. The thick erect flowering spike is 2 to 3 inches long, and usually partially enclosed by the uppermost expanded leaf sheath. It breaks apart when it is mature. The stout, stiff bristles are 3/4 to 1 1/2 inches long. The yellow grain is about l/4 inch long and hairy at the top.

DISTRIBUTION-Introduced from Europe, wild barley is a weed pest starting early in the spring in cultivated crops, especially grain and alfalfa fields. It is common on disturbed soil of roadsides, irrigation ditches, vacant lots, and lawns throughout Arizona, except the northeastern part; 100 to 9,000 feet elevation; flowering mostly in March and April at lower altitudes, and to October at higher elevations.

FOXTAIL BARLEY-Hordeum jubatum L.

DESCRIPTION-Foxtail barley is a tufted perennial, often appearing annual, 1 to 2 feet high, reproducing by seeds and by inconspicuous rhizomes. It is similar to wild barley, but larger; the flowering spikes, 2 to 4 inches long, are nodding, not erect; the pale green or reddish bristles are much longer, 3/4 to 3/8 inches long, and finer, not as stiff. The flower heads are only about 1 inch broad until maturity, when they spread and are very bushy, as in squirreltail (Sitanion hystrix), except the bristles are much finer and not stiff.

DISTRIBUTION-A native weed of moist soil on disturbed ground along streams, lakes, roadsides, and in irrigated pastures and ditches (but not usually in cultivated fields). At maturity, it is sometimes injurious to stock because the bristles and sharp joints pierce their mouths, nostrils, and skin. Found in Apache, Navajo, Coconino, and Maricopa counties; 5,000 to 7,500 feet elevation; flowering June to September.

Copyright (c) 1972 The Arizona Board of Regents

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