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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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