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Overview

Comprehensive Description

Comments

During early summer, this attractive grass can be found along interstate highways for mile after mile. It tolerates road salt and adapts readily to the dry gravelly conditions of the roadside. The long-awned nodding spikes move gracefully in the wind. Squirrel-tail Grass (Hordeum jubatum) would be grown as an ornamental grass, except that it is rather common and weedy. This grass is easily distinguished from other barley grasses (Hordeum spp.) by its nodding spikes and their long awns (greater than 1" in length). Other barley grasses in Illinois, whether they are native or introduced, have shorter awns and their flowering spikes are usually more erect. Another common name of Hordeum jubatum is Foxtail Barley.
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© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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Description

This short-lived perennial grass is about 1-2' tall and usually tufted at the base, otherwise it is unbranched. The culms are light green to reddish green, terete, and glabrous. Alternate leaves are produced sparingly along each culm. The leaf blades are up to 4½" long and 5 mm. across; they are light green to pale bluish green, hairless, and erect to ascending. The leaf sheaths are light green to pale reddish green, hairless, and longitudinally veined. The nodes are slightly swollen and reddish to slightly sunken and brown. The ligules are white-membranous. Each culm terminates in a nodding spike about 2-4" long. Because of the spreading awns of its spikelets, this spike is almost as broad as it is long and obconic in outline. Excluding the awns, the main body of the spike is cylindrical in shape. During the blooming period, the spike is light green, often with reddish or purplish tints, and its appearance is silky and glistening. The spikelets are densely distributed along the length of each spike. The spikelets are arranged in clusters of 3, consisting of a single sessile spikelet that is fertile, and 2 pedicellate spikelets that are sterile. The sessile spikelet in each cluster has 2 glumes and a fertile lemma. The glumes of the sessile spikelet are linear in shape and awned (including their awns, these glumes are 25-75 mm. or 1-3" in length), while the body of the fertile lemma is 5-7 mm. long, narrowly lanceolate, convex along its outer surface, and awned (including its awn, the fertile lemma is 25-75 mm. or 1-3" in length). Each pedicellate spikelet consists of 2 glumes and 0-1 sterile lemmas. The glumes of a pedicellate spikelet are linear in shape and awned (including their awns, these glumes are 25-75 mm. or 1-3" in length), while the body of the sterile lemma (if it is present) is 0.5 mm. long and awned (including its awn, the sterile lemma is 25-75 mm. or 1-3" in length). The floret of each fertile lemma has 3 anthers and a pair of plumose stigmas. The blooming period occurs during early to mid-summer (rarely during the autumn). The florets are cross-pollinated by the wind. Afterwards, the flowering spikes become light tan; the fertile lemma of each cluster of spikelets contains a single grain. Individual clusters of spikelets become detached from the rachis (central stalk) of their spike and fall to the ground while remaining intact. Because of their persistent awns, these clustered spikelets are often blown about by the wind, by which means the grains of this grass are distributed to new areas. The root system is fibrous. This grass spreads by reseeding itself. It often forms colonies at favorable locations.
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© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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Distribution

Range and Habitat in Illinois

The native Squirrel-tail Grass is quite common in northern and central Illinois, while in the southern part of the state it is less common or absent. Outside of Illinois, this grass is widely distributed in both North America and Eurasia. Habitats include edges of marshes, muddy borders along puddles, poorly drained fields, pastures, vacant lots with compacted soil, gravelly areas along roads and railroads, mined land, and sterile waste areas. This grass is typically found in disturbed sunny areas with scant vegetation.
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© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

United States

Origin: Unknown/Undetermined

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Unknown/Undetermined

Confidence: Confident

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© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

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National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

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© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

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Occurrence in North America

     AL  AK  AZ  AR  CA  CO  CT  DE  ID  IL
     IN  IA  KS  KY  ME  MD  MA  MI  MN  MS
     MO  MT  NE  NV  NH  NJ  NM  NY  ND  OH
     OK  OR  PA  RI  SD  TN  TX  UT  VT  WA
     WV  WI  WY  AB  BC  LB  MB  NB  NF  NT
     NS  ON  PQ  SK  YT  MEXICO

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Foxtail barley is indigenous to the western United States [35].  It has
become naturalized in the East and now occurs throughout the United
States with the exception of the South Atlantic and Gulf Coast states
[2,17].  It occurs throughout most of Canada and some areas of Mexico
[35,45].
  • 17.  Hitchcock, C. Leo; Cronquist, Arthur. 1973. Flora of the Pacific        Northwest. Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press. 730 p.  [1168]
  • 2.  Badger, Kemuel S.; Ungar, Irwin A. 1991. Life history and population        dynamics of Hordeum jubatum along a soil salinity gradient. Canadian        Journal of Botany. 69: 384-393.  [14539]
  • 35.  U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. 1937. Range plant        handbook. Washington, DC. 532 p.  [2387]
  • 45.  Hardy BBT Limited. 1989. Manual of plant species suitability for        reclamation in Alberta. 2d ed. Report No. RRTAC 89-4. Edmonton, AB:        Alberta Land Conservation and Reclamation Council. 436 p.  [15460]

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Regional Distribution in the Western United States

More info on this topic.

This species can be found in the following regions of the western United States (according to the Bureau of Land Management classification of Physiographic Regions of the western United States):

    1  Northern Pacific Border
    2  Cascade Mountains
    3  Southern Pacific Border
    4  Sierra Mountains
    5  Columbia Plateau
    6  Upper Basin and Range
    7  Lower Basin and Range
    8  Northern Rocky Mountains
    9  Middle Rocky Mountains
   10  Wyoming Basin
   11  Southern Rocky Mountains
   12  Colorado Plateau
   13  Rocky Mountain Piedmont
   14  Great Plains
   15  Black Hills Uplift
   16  Upper Missouri Basin and Broken Lands

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Physical Description

Morphology

Description

More info for the term: cool-season

Foxtail barley is a short-lived, native, perennial, cool-season grass
[1,14,26,32].  It has erect, slender stems, 1 to 2 feet (0.3-0.6 m)
tall, growing in thick bunches or tufts [23,26,38].  The roots are
fibrous [35].
  • 23.  Lackschewitz, Klaus. 1991. Vascular plants of west-central        Montana--identification guidebook. Gen. Tech. Rep. INT-227. Ogden, UT:        U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research        Station. 648 p.  [13798]
  • 1.  Badger, Kemuel S.; Ungar, Irwin A. 1989. The effects of salinity and        temperature on the germination of the inland halophyte Hordeum jubatum.        Canadian Journal of Botany. 67(5): 1420-1425.  [14650]
  • 14.  Hallsten, Gregory P.; Skinner, Quentin D.; Beetle, Alan A. 1987. Grasses        of Wyoming. 3rd ed. Research Journal 202. Laramie, WY: University of        Wyoming, Agricultural Experiment Station. 432 p.  [2906]
  • 26.  Morris, H. E.; Booth, W. E.; Payne, G. F.; Stitt, R. E. 1950. Important        grasses on Montana ranges. Bull. No. 470. Bozeman, MT: Montana        Agricultural Experiment Station. 52 p.  [5520]
  • 32.  Stubbendieck, J.; Nichols, James T.; Roberts, Kelly K. 1985. Nebraska        range and pasture grasses (including grass-like plants). E.C. 85-170.        Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska, Department of Agriculture,        Cooperative Extension Service. 75 p.  [2269]
  • 35.  U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. 1937. Range plant        handbook. Washington, DC. 532 p.  [2387]
  • 38.  Vallentine, John F. 1961. Important Utah range grasses. Extension        Circular 281. Logan, UT: Utah State University. 48 p.  [2937]

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Physical Description

Perennials, Terrestrial, not aquatic, Stems nodes swollen or brittle, Stems erect or ascending, Stems caespitose, tufted, or clustered, Stems terete, round in cross section, or polygonal, Stem internodes hollow, Stems with inflorescence less than 1 m tall, Stems, culms, or scapes exceeding basal leaves, Leaves mostly cauline, Leaves conspicuously 2-ranked, distichous, Leaves sheathing at base, Leaf sheath mostly open, or loose, Leaf sheath smooth, glabrous, Leaf sheath and blade differentiated, Leaf blades linear, Leaf blades 2-10 mm wide, Leaf blades mostly flat, Leaf blades mostly glabrous, Leaf blades more or less hairy, Ligule present, Ligule an unfringed eciliate membrane, Inflorescence terminal, Inflorescence solitary, with 1 spike, fascicle, glomerule, head, or cluster per stem or culm, Inflorescence lax, widely spreading, branches drooping, pendulous, Inflorescence curved, twisted or nodding, Inflorescence single raceme, fascicle or spike, Inflorescence spikelets arranged in a terminal bilateral spike, Flowers bisexual, Spikelets sessile or subsessile, Spikelets dorsally compressed or terete, Spikelet less than 3 mm wide, Spikelets with 1 fertile floret, Spikelets 3 per node, Spikelets distichously arranged, Spikelets bisexual, Inflorescence disarticulating between nodes or joints of rachis, rachis fragmenting, Spikelets disarticulating below the glumes, Spikelets falling with parts of disarticulating rachis or pedicel, Spikelets closely appressed or embedded in concave portions of axis, Rachilla or pedicel glabrous, Glumes present, empty bracts, Glumes 2 clearly present, Glumes equal or subequal, Glumes equal to or longer than adjacent lemma, Glumes awn-like, elongated or subulate, Glumes awned, awn 1-5 mm or longer, Glumes 1 nerved, Glumes 3 nerved, Lemma coriaceous, firmer or thicker in texture than the glumes, Lemma 5-7 nerved, Lemma glabrous, Lemma apex acute or acuminate, Lemma mucronate, very shortly beaked or awned, less than 1-2 mm, Lemma distinctly awned, more than 2-3 mm, Lemma with 1 awn, Lemma awn 2-4 cm long or longer, Lemma awned from tip, Lemma awn from sinus of bifid apex, Lemma awns straight or curved to base, Lemma margins thin, lying flat, Lemma straight, Palea present, well developed, Palea membranous, hyaline, Palea about equal to lemma, Palea 2 nerved or 2 keeled, Stamens 3, Styles 2-fid, deeply 2-branched, Stigmas 2, Fruit - caryopsis, Caryopsis ellipsoid, longitudinally grooved, hilum long-linear, Caryopsis hairy at apex.
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Dr. David Bogler

Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

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Description

Plants perennial, tufted, smooth and glabrous. Culms erect or decumbent at base, 30–60 cm tall, ca. 2 mm in diam., 3–5-noded. Leaf blade flat, 6–12 × 0.15–0.4 cm. Spike green or purplish green, nodding, 5–10 cm including awns, soft; rachis brittle. Lateral spikelets: reduced to 1–3 spreading awns, rarely male. Central spikelet:perfect; glumes spreading, awnlike, 2.5–6.5 cm, much longer than floret; lemma lanceolate 5–6(–8) mm, awn to 7 cm; palea equaling lemma. Fl. and fr. May–Aug. 2n = 28*.
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© Missouri Botanical Garden, 4344 Shaw Boulevard, St. Louis, MO, 63110 USA

Source: Missouri Botanical Garden

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Diagnostic Description

Synonym

Critesion geniculatum Rafinesque, nom. illeg. superfl.; C. jubatum (Linnaeus) Nevski; Elymus jubatus (Linnaeus) Link.
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© Missouri Botanical Garden, 4344 Shaw Boulevard, St. Louis, MO, 63110 USA

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Type Information

Syntype for Hordeum caespitosum Scribn. in Pammel
Catalog Number: US 1939943
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany
Verification Degree: Original publication and alleged type specimen examined
Preparation: Pressed specimen
Collector(s): L. Pammel
Year Collected: 1897
Locality: Edgemont., South Dakota, United States, North America
  • Syntype: Scribner, F. L. 1899. Proc. Davenport Acad. Nat. Sci. 7: 245.
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© Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany

Source: National Museum of Natural History Collections

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Type fragment for Hordeum adscendens Kunth
Catalog Number: US 2808440
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany
Verification Degree: Original publication and alleged type specimen examined
Preparation: Pressed specimen
Collector(s): A. J. A. Bonpland
Locality: Between Mt. Chapultepec and Carpio., Mexico, Central America
  • Type fragment: Kunth, C. S. 1816. Nova Genera Sp. Pl. 1: 145.
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© Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany

Source: National Museum of Natural History Collections

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Ecology

Habitat

Range and Habitat in Illinois

The native Squirrel-tail Grass is quite common in northern and central Illinois, while in the southern part of the state it is less common or absent. Outside of Illinois, this grass is widely distributed in both North America and Eurasia. Habitats include edges of marshes, muddy borders along puddles, poorly drained fields, pastures, vacant lots with compacted soil, gravelly areas along roads and railroads, mined land, and sterile waste areas. This grass is typically found in disturbed sunny areas with scant vegetation.
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© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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Habitat characteristics

More info for the terms: codominant, heath, shrub

Foxtail barley grows chiefly on grassland types on the plains and lower
foothills but also extends upward to subalpine elevations in the spruce
belt.  It is very common throughout the West, especially along roadsides
and other waste places, and in grain and hay fields [17,23,31,35].  It
reaches its greatest abundance on the edges of sloughs and salt marshes,
grassy slopes, and flatlands in the western prairies [4].  It is also
abundant in overgrazed sagebrush margins and irrigated meadows [14].  In
sagebrush, pinyon-juniper, salt-desert shrub, and plains grasslands
communities, it generally occurs in areas where extra water has
accumulated, such as sloughs and around stock-water developments [38].

Soils and salt-tolerance:  Foxtail barley grows well on a variety of
soil textures ranging from sandy loam to clay, with clay content varying
from 17 percent to 56 percent [34,45].  It requires fairly moist
conditions and cannot sustain itself during long dry periods [8,34].
Foxtail barley commonly occurs on soils with moderate salinity but can
also grow and reproduce under nonsaline conditions [34,45].  Foxtail
barley has a broad tolerance to variations in pH.  It occurs in areas
with a pH from 6.4 to 9.5, with a median value of 8.1 in the surface
soils [34].

Elevational range:  The elevational range of foxtail barley in several
western states is as follows [8]:

        Utah:  2,500 to 8,800 feet (762-2,682 m)
        Colorado:  3,400 to 10,400 feet (1,036-3,170 m)
        Wyoming:  3,500 to 9,400 feet (1,067-2,865 m)
        Montana:  2,100 to 3,900 feet (640-1,189 m)

Plant associates:  Foxtail barley may occur in relatively pure stands in
moderately saline communities or as a codominant with inland saltgrass
(Distichlis stricta var. stricta) and spearleaf saltweed (Atriplex
patula var.  hastata) [34].  Foxtail barley is also commonly associated
with coastal saltgrass (Distichlis spicata), nutka alkaligrass
(Puccinellia nutkaensis), Pursh seepweed (Suaeda depressa), heath aster
(Aster ericoides), field sowthistle (Sonchus arvensis), curly dock
(Rumex crispus), bluegrass (Poa spp.), and wheatgrass (Agropyron spp.)
[6,13,15,34].
  • 8.  Dittberner, Phillip L.; Olson, Michael R. 1983. The plant information        network (PIN) data base: Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, Utah, and        Wyoming. FWS/OBS-83/86. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior,        Fish and Wildlife Service. 786 p.  [806]
  • 17.  Hitchcock, C. Leo; Cronquist, Arthur. 1973. Flora of the Pacific        Northwest. Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press. 730 p.  [1168]
  • 23.  Lackschewitz, Klaus. 1991. Vascular plants of west-central        Montana--identification guidebook. Gen. Tech. Rep. INT-227. Ogden, UT:        U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research        Station. 648 p.  [13798]
  • 4.  Baum, Bernard R.; Bailey, L. Grant. 1990. Key and synopsis of North        American Hordeum species. Canadian Journal of Botany. 68: 2433-2442.        [16150]
  • 6.  Clambey, Gary K.; Landers, Roger Q. 1978. A survey of wetland vegetation        in north-central Iowa. In: Glenn-Lewin, David C.; Landers, Roger Q.,        Jr., eds. Proceedings, 5th Midwest prairie conference; 1976 August        22-24; Ames, IA. Ames, IA: Iowa State University: 32-35.  [3304]
  • 13.  Hadley, E. B.; Buccos, R. P. 1967. Plant community composition and net        primary production within a native eastern North Dakota prairie.        American Midland Naturalist. 77: 116-127.  [11422]
  • 14.  Hallsten, Gregory P.; Skinner, Quentin D.; Beetle, Alan A. 1987. Grasses        of Wyoming. 3rd ed. Research Journal 202. Laramie, WY: University of        Wyoming, Agricultural Experiment Station. 432 p.  [2906]
  • 15.  Hansen, Paul L.; Chadde, Steve W.; Pfister, Robert D. 1988. Riparian        dominance types of Montana. Misc. Publ. No. 49. Missoula, MT: University        of Montana, School of Forestry, Montana Forest and Conservation        Experiment Station. 411 p.  [5660]
  • 31.  Sampson, Arthur W.; Chase, Agnes; Hedrick, Donald W. 1951. California        grasslands and range forage grasses. Bull. 724. Berkeley, CA: University        of California College of Agriculture, California Agricultural Experiment        Station. 125 p.  [2052]
  • 34.  Ungar, Irwin A. 1974. Inland halophytes of the United States. In:        Reinold, Robert J.; Queen, William H., eds. Ecology of halophytes. New        York: Academic Press, Inc: 235-305.  [11429]
  • 35.  U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. 1937. Range plant        handbook. Washington, DC. 532 p.  [2387]
  • 38.  Vallentine, John F. 1961. Important Utah range grasses. Extension        Circular 281. Logan, UT: Utah State University. 48 p.  [2937]
  • 45.  Hardy BBT Limited. 1989. Manual of plant species suitability for        reclamation in Alberta. 2d ed. Report No. RRTAC 89-4. Edmonton, AB:        Alberta Land Conservation and Reclamation Council. 436 p.  [15460]

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Habitat: Cover Types

More info on this topic.

This species is known to occur in association with the following cover types (as classified by the Society of American Foresters):

      1  Jack pine
      5  Balsam fir
     12  Black spruce
     13  Black spruce - tamarack
     22  White pine - hemlock
     23  Eastern hemlock
     38  Tamarack
     32  Red spruce
     33  Red spruce - balsam fir
     34  Red spruce - Fraser fir
     31  Red spruce - sugar maple - beech
     35  Paper birch - red spruce - balsam fir
    206  Engelmann spruce - subalpine fir
    210  Interior Douglas-fir
    224  Western hemlock
    225  Western hemlock - Sitka spruce
    229  Pacific Douglas-fir
    230  Douglas-fir - western hemlock
    237  Interior ponderosa pine
    239  Pinyon - juniper
    244  Pacific ponderosa pine - Douglas-fir
    245  Pacific ponderosa pine

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Habitat: Plant Associations

More info on this topic.

This species is known to occur in association with the following plant community types (as classified by Küchler 1964):

More info for the term: shrub

   K001  Spruce - cedar - hemlock forest
   K010  Ponderosa shrub forest
   K011  Western ponderosa forest
   K012  Douglas-fir forest
   K015  Western spruce - fir forest
   K016  Eastern ponderosa forest
   K017  Black Hills pine forest
   K018  Pine - Douglas-fir forest
   K019  Arizona pine forest
   K021  Southwestern spruce - fir forest
   K023  Juniper - pinyon woodland
   K024  Juniper steppe woodland
   K027  Mesquite bosque
   K033  Chaparral
   K034  Montane chaparral
   K037  Mountain-mahogany - oak scrub
   K038  Great Basin sagebrush
   K039  Blackbrush
   K040  Saltbush - greasewood
   K041  Creosotebush
   K048  California steppe
   K049  Tule marshes
   K050  Fescue - wheatgrass
   K051  Wheatgrass - bluegrass
   K053  Grama - galleta steppe
   K055  Sagebrush steppe
   K056  Wheatgrass - needlegrass shrubsteppe
   K057  Galleta - three-awn shrubsteppe
   K060  Mesquite savanna
   K063  Foothills prairie
   K064  Grama - needlegrass - wheatgrass
   K065  Grama - buffalograss
   K066  Wheatgrass - needlegrass
   K067  Wheatgrass - bluestem - needlegrass
   K068  Wheatgrass - grama - buffalograss
   K069  Bluestem - grama prairie
   K070  Sandsage - bluestem prairie
   K074  Bluestem prairie
   K081  Oak savanna
   K093  Great Lakes spruce - fir forest
   K094  Conifer bog
   K095  Great Lakes pine forest
   K098  Northern floodplain forest
   K101  Elm - ash forest

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Habitat: Ecosystem

More info on this topic.

This species is known to occur in the following ecosystem types (as named by the U.S. Forest Service in their Forest and Range Ecosystem [FRES] Type classification):

   FRES10  White - red - jack pine
   FRES11  Spruce - fir
   FRES20  Douglas-fir
   FRES21  Ponderosa pine
   FRES23  Fir - spruce
   FRES24  Hemlock - Sitka spruce
   FRES29  Sagebrush
   FRES30  Desert shrub
   FRES34  Chaparral - mountain shrub
   FRES35  Pinyon - juniper
   FRES36  Mountain grasslands
   FRES37  Mountain meadows
   FRES38  Plains grasslands
   FRES39  Prairie
   FRES40  Desert grasslands
   FRES41  Wet grasslands
   FRES42  Annual grasslands
   FRES44  Alpine

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Key Plant Community Associations

Foxtail barley is a common riparian dominance type at low to
mid-elevations throughout Montana.  It occurs in disturbed areas,
meadows, basins, and drawdown areas, where soils are saline or alkaline
[15].
  • 15.  Hansen, Paul L.; Chadde, Steve W.; Pfister, Robert D. 1988. Riparian        dominance types of Montana. Misc. Publ. No. 49. Missoula, MT: University        of Montana, School of Forestry, Montana Forest and Conservation        Experiment Station. 411 p.  [5660]

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Habitat & Distribution

Meadows, moist land. Heilongjiang, Liaoning [temperate regions of the world].
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Associations

Faunal Associations

Insects that have been observed feeding on Squirrel-tail Grass (Hordeum jubatum) include larvae of the leaf-miner fly Cerodontha superciliosa, stem-boring larvae of Cephus cinctus (Western Wheat Sawfly), and such grasshoppers as Chortophaga viridifasciata (Northern Green-striped Grasshopper), Orphulella speciosa (Pasture Grasshopper), Phoetaliotes nebrascensis (Large-headed Grasshopper), and Pseudopomala brachyptera (Short-winged Toothpick Grasshopper); see Needham et al. (1928), Ainslie (1929), and Brust et al. (2008). Other insects that feed on grasses in this genus (Hordeum spp.) include Rhopalosiphum maidis (Corn Leaf Aphid), Sipha flava (Yellow Sugar Cane Aphid), and other aphids; see Blackman & Eastop (2013). Prior to the development of the seedheads, the young foliage of this grass is palatable to grazing livestock. After the seedheads develop, the long awns of the spikelets can injure the eyes, mouth parts, nostrils, and digestive tract of grazing livestock and other animals. These same animals, especially sheep, can transport the seeds to new areas after the awned spikelets become lodged in their fur or wool. Photographic Location
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© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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Foodplant / parasite
Blumeria graminis parasitises live Hordeum jubatum

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General Ecology

Fire Management Considerations

More info for the term: cool-season

As a general rule, undesirable cool-season grasses such as foxtail
barley can be reduced with late spring burns [41].
  • 41.  Wright, Henry A.; Bailey, Arthur W. 1982. Fire ecology: United States        and southern Canada. New York: John Wiley & Sons. 501 p.  [2620]

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Broad-scale Impacts of Plant Response to Fire

More info for the terms: prescribed fire, restoration

The Research Project Summary Vegetation response to restoration treatments
in ponderosa pine-Douglas-fir forests of western Montana
provides information
on prescribed fire and postfire response of plant community species, including
foxtail barley, that was not available when this species review was written.

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Plant Response to Fire

More info for the term: culm

Foxtail barley generally recovers after fire through off-site seeds
[27].  Foxtail barley is most sensitive to spring fire that coincides
with its active growing period [41,42].  After a North Dakota prairie
fire in the spring of 1966, foxtail barley culm production was greatly
reduced [12].  However, the opposite was found to be true following a
1972 spring fire on a northwestern Minnesota prairie.  Here flowering
activity was stimulated [27].  Following a burn along the Missouri River
Breaks of central Montana, foxtail barley was one of the first grass
species to become established [44].
  • 12.  Hadley, Elmer B. 1970. Net productivity and burning response of native        eastern North Dakota prairie communities. American Midland Naturalist.        84(1): 121-135.  [5434]
  • 27.  Pemble, R. H.; Van Amburg, G. L.; Mattson, Lyle. 1981. Intraspecific        variation in flowering activity following a spring burn on a        northwestern Minnesota prairie. In: Stuckey, Ronald L.; Reese, Karen J.,        eds. The prairie peninsula--in the "shadow" of Transeau: Proceedings,        6th North American prairie conference; 1978 August 12-17; Columbus, OH.        Ohio Biological Survey: Biological Notes No. 15. Columbus, OH: Ohio        State University, College of Biological Sciences: 235-240.  [3435]
  • 41.  Wright, Henry A.; Bailey, Arthur W. 1982. Fire ecology: United States        and southern Canada. New York: John Wiley & Sons. 501 p.  [2620]
  • 42.  Young, Richard P. 1986. Fire ecology and management in plant communities        of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. Portland, OR: Oregon State        University. 169 p. Thesis.  [3745]
  • 44.  Eichhorn, Larry C.; Watts, C. Robert. 1984. Plant succession on burns in        the river breaks of central Montana. Proceedings, Montana Academy of        Science. 43: 21-34.  [15478]

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Immediate Effect of Fire

More info for the term: top-kill

Moderate fires with probably top-kill foxtail barley, and hot fires may
kill the underground root system.

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Successional Status

More info on this topic.

More info for the term: climax

Facultative Seral Species

Foxtail barley is a pioneer or invader in disturbed areas and in areas
with high salinity [10,15,20,43].  It is among the first grasses to
establish after disturbance and may become dominant in early seral
grassland communities.  It also occurs but is not dominant in some late
seral to climax grassland communities [29].  It rapidly invades areas
exposed by a receding water table.  If the water table becomes stabilized
at a high level, foxtail barley will ultimately be replaced by saltgrass
(Distichlis spp.) or common spikesedge (Eleocharis palustris) in saline
areas [10,20,43].
  • 10.  Frolik, A. L.; Shepherd, W. O. 1940. Vegetative composition and grazing        capacity of a typical area of Nebraska sandhills rangeland. University        of Nebraska Agricultural Experimental Station Research Bulletin. Number        117. 39 p.  [5417]
  • 15.  Hansen, Paul L.; Chadde, Steve W.; Pfister, Robert D. 1988. Riparian        dominance types of Montana. Misc. Publ. No. 49. Missoula, MT: University        of Montana, School of Forestry, Montana Forest and Conservation        Experiment Station. 411 p.  [5660]
  • 20.  Keith, Lloyd B. 1961. A study of waterfowl ecology on small impoundments        in southeastern Alberta. Wildlife Monographs. 6: 1-88.  [4501]
  • 29.  Ross, Robert L.; Hunter, Harold E. 1976. Climax vegetation of Montana        based on soils and climate. Bozeman, MT: U.S. Department of Agriculture,        Soil Conservation Service. 64 p.  [2028]
  • 43.  Millar, J. B. 1973. Vegetation changes in shallow marsh wetlands under        improving moisture regimes. Canadian Journal of Botany. 51: 1443-1457.        [14589]

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Regeneration Processes

More info for the term: marsh

Sexual reproduction:  Foxtail barley is a prolific seeder.  Ripe
seedheads break up and are dispersed by wind or transported in the hair
of grazing animals [35].

Seed germination:  Foxtail barley produces two germination cohorts:  one
in the spring and one in the fall.  These two cohorts are important in
maintaining populations of foxtail barley [2].  On a saline marsh at
Rittman, Ohio, foxtail barley seed production per inflorescence was
greater with an increase in soil salinity [1].  Seed germination is
inhibited by warm summer temperatures, but seeds readily germinate when
exposed to cooler fall temperatures.  After cold stratification the
temperature range favorable for germination broadens.  Freezing
temperatures result in high seed mortality [1].  Seeds are capable of
germinating in 1.0 percent total salts or less. Germination decrease
when salinity increases past 1.0 percent [34].  Germination is
independent of light conditions [1].

Seedlings:  Foxtail barley seedlings can survive for several months at
salinities unfavorable for growth and reproduction.  In a marsh at
Rittman, Ohio, highest survival of fall and spring seedlings occurred in
the most saline lower marsh [2].

Vegetative reproduction:  Foxtail barley reproduces vegetatively by
tillering [33].
  • 1.  Badger, Kemuel S.; Ungar, Irwin A. 1989. The effects of salinity and        temperature on the germination of the inland halophyte Hordeum jubatum.        Canadian Journal of Botany. 67(5): 1420-1425.  [14650]
  • 2.  Badger, Kemuel S.; Ungar, Irwin A. 1991. Life history and population        dynamics of Hordeum jubatum along a soil salinity gradient. Canadian        Journal of Botany. 69: 384-393.  [14539]
  • 33.  Stubbendieck, J.; Hatch, Stephan L.; Hirsch, Kathie J. 1986. North        American range plants. 3rd ed. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska        Press. 465 p.  [2270]
  • 34.  Ungar, Irwin A. 1974. Inland halophytes of the United States. In:        Reinold, Robert J.; Queen, William H., eds. Ecology of halophytes. New        York: Academic Press, Inc: 235-305.  [11429]
  • 35.  U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. 1937. Range plant        handbook. Washington, DC. 532 p.  [2387]

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Growth Form (according to Raunkiær Life-form classification)

More info on this topic.

More info for the terms: chamaephyte, hemicryptophyte

   Chamaephyte
   Hemicryptophyte

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Life Form

More info for the term: graminoid

Graminoid

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Fire Ecology

Foxtail barley will rapidly establish on disturbed sites through
off-site seed sources [15,35].
  • 15.  Hansen, Paul L.; Chadde, Steve W.; Pfister, Robert D. 1988. Riparian        dominance types of Montana. Misc. Publ. No. 49. Missoula, MT: University        of Montana, School of Forestry, Montana Forest and Conservation        Experiment Station. 411 p.  [5660]
  • 35.  U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. 1937. Range plant        handbook. Washington, DC. 532 p.  [2387]

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Post-fire Regeneration

   Initial-offsite colonizer (off-site, initial community)

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Life History and Behavior

Cyclicity

Phenology

More info on this topic.

Foxtail barley starts growth in April or May.  Flowering and seed set
generally occur from May until late July [2,33,34].
  • 2.  Badger, Kemuel S.; Ungar, Irwin A. 1991. Life history and population        dynamics of Hordeum jubatum along a soil salinity gradient. Canadian        Journal of Botany. 69: 384-393.  [14539]
  • 33.  Stubbendieck, J.; Hatch, Stephan L.; Hirsch, Kathie J. 1986. North        American range plants. 3rd ed. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska        Press. 465 p.  [2270]
  • 34.  Ungar, Irwin A. 1974. Inland halophytes of the United States. In:        Reinold, Robert J.; Queen, William H., eds. Ecology of halophytes. New        York: Academic Press, Inc: 235-305.  [11429]

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage: Hordeum jubatum ssp intermedium

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 2
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Barcode data: Hordeum jubatum

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Hordeum jubatum

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 17
Specimens with Barcodes: 24
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: NNR - Unranked

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: T5 - Secure

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National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure

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Management

Management considerations

Because of the damage foxtail barley can cause to livestock and other
animals, it is often considered a pasture weed [21,24,35].  Hay
containing foxtail barley is nearly valueless [24].  Additionally,
seedheads of this species can downgrade the value of wool or pelts,
causing further economic loss to ranchers [24].  Once established,
foxtail barley is hard to eradicate.  It increases under excessive
grazing pressure.  Dense stands are usually associated with some type of
disturbance, such as overgrazing, close mowing, or repeated burning
[14,29,45].

Seeding disturbed meadows and pastures with desirable, fast-growing
forage grasses is effective in reducing the amount of foxtail barley
that invades the site.  Additionally, conservative grazing can
facilitate the establishment of native, palatable grasses and reduce
foxtail barley [15,35].

Control with herbicides:  Forty-eight pounds of dalapon
(2,2-dichloropropionic acid) per acre (7.2 kg/ha) in water at 50 gallons
per acre (76 liters/ha) has been shown to give complete kill of foxtail
barley.  Lower rates of 16 and 32 pounds of dalapon per acre (2.4
kg/ha-4.8 kg/ha) allows some survival.  A combination of 30 pounds (4.5
kg/ha) of dalapon and 4 pounds (0.6 kg/ha) of amino triazole per acre
will also effectively control foxtail barley [36].  The herbicide
mefluidide is most effective in controlling foxtail barley when applied
near initiation of flowering [39].  In a meadow brome (Bromus spp.)
stand, the herbicide kerb at the rate of 0.5 pounds per acre ( 0.7
kg/ha) gave excellent control of foxtail barley without apparent
reduction of the meadow brome [18].
  • 14.  Hallsten, Gregory P.; Skinner, Quentin D.; Beetle, Alan A. 1987. Grasses        of Wyoming. 3rd ed. Research Journal 202. Laramie, WY: University of        Wyoming, Agricultural Experiment Station. 432 p.  [2906]
  • 15.  Hansen, Paul L.; Chadde, Steve W.; Pfister, Robert D. 1988. Riparian        dominance types of Montana. Misc. Publ. No. 49. Missoula, MT: University        of Montana, School of Forestry, Montana Forest and Conservation        Experiment Station. 411 p.  [5660]
  • 18.  Humberg, N. E.; Alley, H. P.; Vore, R. E. 1981. Rangeland and        meadowland: Section II. University of Wyoming Agricultural Experiment        Station Research Journal. 63: 29-51.  [4907]
  • 21.  Kingsbury, John M. 1964. Poisonous plants of the United States and        Canada. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc. 626 p.  [122]
  • 24.  Lamson-Scribner, F. 1900. Economic grasses. Bulletin No. 14. Washington,        DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Division of Agrostology. 85 p.        [4282]
  • 29.  Ross, Robert L.; Hunter, Harold E. 1976. Climax vegetation of Montana        based on soils and climate. Bozeman, MT: U.S. Department of Agriculture,        Soil Conservation Service. 64 p.  [2028]
  • 35.  U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. 1937. Range plant        handbook. Washington, DC. 532 p.  [2387]
  • 36.  U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Department of the Interior; Range        Seeding Equipment Committee. 1959. Handbook: Chemical control of range        weeds. Washington, DC: [Publisher unknown]
  • 39.  White, Larry M. 1989. Growth regulators' effect on crested wheatgrass        forage yield and quality. Journal of Range Management. 42(1): 46-50.        [4170]
  • 45.  Hardy BBT Limited. 1989. Manual of plant species suitability for        reclamation in Alberta. 2d ed. Report No. RRTAC 89-4. Edmonton, AB:        Alberta Land Conservation and Reclamation Council. 436 p.  [15460]

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These species are introduced in Switzerland.
  • Aeschimann, D. & C. Heitz. 2005. Synonymie-Index der Schweizer Flora und der angrenzenden Gebiete (SISF). 2te Auflage. Documenta Floristicae Helvetiae N° 2. Genève.   http://www.crsf.ch/ External link.
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Supplier: Name It's Source (profile not public)

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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Cultivation

The preference is full sun and wet to dry-mesic conditions. Different kinds of soil are tolerated – from muddy soil to dry gravelly soil. This grass has a high tolerance of salt and alkaline conditions. It will not tolerate much competition from taller vegetation.
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Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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Cover Value

The degree to which foxtail barley provides environmental protection
during one or more seasons for wildlife species is rated as follows [8]:

                         CO      MT      ND      UT      WY
Pronghorn               ----    ----    Poor    Poor    Poor
Elk                     ----    Poor    ----    Poor    Poor
Mule deer               ----    Poor    Poor    Poor    Poor
White-tailed deer       Poor    Fair    ----    Poor    ----
Small mammals           ----    Poor    ----    Fair    Good
Small nongame birds     ----    Poor    ----    Fair    Good
Upland game birds       Poor    Poor    ----    Fair    Fair
Waterfowl               ----    Good    Good    Fair    Fair
  • 8.  Dittberner, Phillip L.; Olson, Michael R. 1983. The plant information        network (PIN) data base: Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, Utah, and        Wyoming. FWS/OBS-83/86. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior,        Fish and Wildlife Service. 786 p.  [806]

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Palatability

The palatability of foxtail barley to livestock and wildlife species in
several western states is rated as follows [8]:

                         CO      MT      ND      UT      WY
Cattle                  Fair    Poor    Fair    Fair    Poor
Sheep                   Fair    Fair    Fair    Poor    Fair
Horses                  Fair    ----    ----    Fair    Fair
Pronghorn               ----    Poor    Poor    Fair    Poor
Elk                     ----    Poor    ----    Good    Poor
Mule deer               ----    Poor    Poor    Fair    Poor
White-tailed deer       ----    Poor    Poor    ----    Poor
Small mammals           ----    ----    ----    Fair    Fair
Small nongame birds     ----    Fair    ----    Fair    ----
Upland game birds       ----    Poor    ----    Fair    Fair
Waterfowl               Good    Fair    ----    Fair    Fair
  • 8.  Dittberner, Phillip L.; Olson, Michael R. 1983. The plant information        network (PIN) data base: Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, Utah, and        Wyoming. FWS/OBS-83/86. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior,        Fish and Wildlife Service. 786 p.  [806]

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Other uses and values

Foxtail barley, cut before the awns have expanded, is sometimes used as
an ornamental in dry bouquets [24].
  • 24.  Lamson-Scribner, F. 1900. Economic grasses. Bulletin No. 14. Washington,        DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Division of Agrostology. 85 p.        [4282]

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Value for rehabilitation of disturbed sites

Foxtail barley has potential for revegetation of saline mine spoils
where forage value is of secondary importance.  Its extensive root
system and aggressive habit make it a good species for erosion control.
Foxtail barley seeds are not commercially available [45].
  • 45.  Hardy BBT Limited. 1989. Manual of plant species suitability for        reclamation in Alberta. 2d ed. Report No. RRTAC 89-4. Edmonton, AB:        Alberta Land Conservation and Reclamation Council. 436 p.  [15460]

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Importance to Livestock and Wildlife

Many waterfowl species eat the seeds and occasionally the leaves of
foxtail barley [20].  Before flowering, foxtail barley is palatable to
livestock and big game.  Up to the time when seedheads develop, it is
fair to good forage for cattle and horses and fair for sheep [35].

Foxtail barley seedheads, when dry, are very harmful to all kinds of
grazing animals, particularly deer, elk, and pronghorn [35].  The
sharp-pointed joints of the spike, each with several long and slender
awns, stick in the nose and mouth of grazing animals, often penetrating
the flesh [24,35].  Infection caused by awns stuck in tissue can cause
necrotic sores and necrotic stomatitis, which in turn finally attacks
the bones and causes an abnormal enlargement as well as lumpy jaw and
pus-forming abscesses.  These infections may result in death of the
animal [35].
  • 20.  Keith, Lloyd B. 1961. A study of waterfowl ecology on small impoundments        in southeastern Alberta. Wildlife Monographs. 6: 1-88.  [4501]
  • 24.  Lamson-Scribner, F. 1900. Economic grasses. Bulletin No. 14. Washington,        DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Division of Agrostology. 85 p.        [4282]
  • 35.  U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. 1937. Range plant        handbook. Washington, DC. 532 p.  [2387]

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Wikipedia

Hordeum jubatum

Hordeum jubatum (foxtail barley) is a perennial plant species in the grass family Poaceae. It occurs wild mainly in northern North America and adjacent northeastern Siberia. However, as it escaped often from gardens it can be found worldwide in areas with temperate to warm climates, and is considered a weed in many countries. The species is a polyploid and originated via hybridization of an East Asian Hordeum species with a close but extinct relative of Californian H. brachyantherum. It is grown as an ornamental plant for its attractive inflorescences and when done flowering for its infructescence.

Properties[edit]

Foxtail barley (Hordeum jubatum) propagates by seed. It is known for its ability to tolerate saline soils but is capable of productive growth on soil types ranging from loamy to clayey soils with pH's of 6.4 to 9.5. The upper limit of soil NaCl for productive growth and development is 1.0%. Foxtail barley is also adapted to a wide range of moisture regimes from dry to wet. Although this species is generally found on moist sites, it can withstand drought-like conditions. It is commonly found in lowland areas with restricted soil drainage, disturbed sites, waste areas and fields. Foxtail barley is a pioneer species or invader in disturbed areas and in areas with high salinity. It is among the first grasses to establish after disturbance and rapidly invades areas exposed by a receding water table.

Seedling[edit]

Foxtail barley is a prolific seed producer, with each plant capable of producing upwards of 200 seeds. Seeds are elliptical, yellowish-brown and about a ¼ inch long with four to eight awns. The seeds have sharp, backwards pointing barbs. Seed is dispersed by wind, machinery and animals and germinates in the cooler temperatures of the spring or fall. Seed germinating in the fall can overwinter and resume growth in early spring, giving Foxtail barley a competitive advantage over many crops. Germination is inhibited by warm temperatures and seeds require a period of darkness for germination to occur. Foxtail barley is a shallow-rooted plant with germination occurring at soil depths not greater than three inches. The seedling of Foxtail barley first appears as thin, vertical leaves covered in short, dense hairs. The leaves have prominent venation and rough margins, while auricles are absent or elemental and the membranous ligule is very short with fine hairs.

Juvenile/Mature[edit]

Foxtail barley is a fibrous-rooted, densely tufted grass that grows from 30 cm to 100 cm tall and is erect or reclining at the base. The stems are erect and smooth and the leaf sheaths are split and hairy. The inflorescence of the mature plant is a dense, long-awned nodding spike with greenish or purplish colouring. The jointed rachis breaks into sharply pointed segments with three spikelets composing each segment. Only the central spikelet has one creamy coloured seed while each segment has seven awns with upward pointing barbs. These awns are up to three inches long and become easily attached to animals, clothing, machinery, etc. Leaf blades are slender and a greyish-green colour.

Ecological Impact[edit]

Foxtail barley is distinguished from cultivated barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) and Meadow barley (Hordeum brachyantherum) by lemma awn length. H. brachyantherum has awn lengths of ½ an inch; Foxtail barley has lengths of ½-3 inches; and cultivated barley of 10–15 cm in length. Once Foxtail barley is established, it becomes extremely difficult to eradicate. Its extensive root systems and aggressive habit, as well as its ability to tolerate saline soils make it a resilient competitor. It is considered a weed because of this competitive ability and the dangers it poses to wildlife and livestock. While Foxtail barley may be palatable for animals in early spring before it flowers, its seed heads, when dry, are very harmful to grazing animals. The awns with upward-pointing barbs become easily attached and embedded in the animal's mouth and face, causing severe irritation, abscesses, and even blindness. Foxtail barley is also host to a number of viruses, and because it harbours wheat rust and blackstem rust, can indirectly affect the development of field crops. Since Foxtail barley accumulates high amounts of salt in its leaves and roots, it has the potential of reducing soil salinity. Given Foxtail barley's ability to withstand saline soils, it has been identified as having potential for the revegetation of saline mine spoils to reduce erosion. It has also been recommended as a species suitable for wildlife habitat rehabilitation on disturbed lands, but given its other less desirable traits, other natural grass species would be more beneficial.

References[edit]

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Names and Taxonomy

Taxonomy

Common Names

foxtail barley
foxtail
squirreltail barley
squirreltail grass
foxtail grass
wild barley
skunktail

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The currently accepted scientific name for foxtail barley is Hordeum
jubatum L. [4,17,19]. Hordeum jubatum L. hybridizes with H.
brachyantherum in interior and coastal British Columbia, where the two
species share the same habitat [4]. Recognized subspecies and
varieties of H. jubatum are as follows [4,17,19]:

H. j. ssp. jubatum
H. j. ssp. intermedium Bowden
H. j. ssp. breviarestatum Bowden
H. j. var. boreale Scribn. & Smith (Boivin)
H. j. var. caespitasum (Sribn.) Hitchc.
  • 17.  Hitchcock, C. Leo; Cronquist, Arthur. 1973. Flora of the Pacific        Northwest. Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press. 730 p.  [1168]
  • 4.  Baum, Bernard R.; Bailey, L. Grant. 1990. Key and synopsis of North        American Hordeum species. Canadian Journal of Botany. 68: 2433-2442.        [16150]
  • 19.  Kartesz, John T.; Kartesz, Rosemarie. 1980. A synonymized checklist of        the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. Volume        II: The biota of North America. Chapel Hill, NC: The University of North        Carolina Press; in confederation with Anne H. Lindsey and C. Richie        Bell, North Carolina Botanical Garden. 500 p.  [6954]

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Synonyms

Critesion jubatum L. Nevski [3]
  • 3.  Barkworth, Mary E.; Dewey, Douglas R. 1985. Genomically based genera in        the perennial Triticeae of North America: identification and membership.        American Journal of Botany. 72(5): 767-776.  [393]

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