E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Hordeum jubatum L.
foxtail barley
Poaceae (Grass family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Eileen Brown  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #21416)

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Distribution of Hordeum jubatum
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Species Information

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Perennial, tufted grass from fibrous roots, smooth to densely soft-hairy; stems 20-50 (60) cm tall.
Sheaths open; blades 2-4 (5) mm wide, sparsely hairy just above the ligules; ear-shaped lobes usually present on at least some leaf-bases, barely 0.5 mm long; ligules 0.2-0.6 mm long, blunt, more or less entire.
Inflorescence a spike, 5-10 cm long (including awns) and almost as wide at maturity, the rachis disarticulating; central spikelets unstalked, the lateral ones short-stalked, the stalks curved, stiff-hairy, about 1-1.5 mm long; central spikelet glumes awnlike, (11) 20-90 mm long, the awns of the lateral spikelet glumes often as long as those of the central spikelets; central spikelet lemmas with awns nearly as long as the glumes, ultimately usually more or less broadly spreading, the lateral spikelet florets sterile, rudimentary to nearly as large as those of the central spikelets, then with functional anthers; anthers 1-1.5 mm long.
Hordeum jubatum hybridizes with several species in other genera of the Triticeae as well as with H. brachyantherum. These latter hybrids, which tend to resemble H. jubatum more than H. brachyantherum, are called H. jubatum ssp. intermedium (Barkworth 1994). The two subspecies occurring in BC may be recognized as follows:

1. Glumes 33-90 mm long; lemma awns of the central florets 33-90 mm long......................... ssp. Jubatum

1. Glumes 11-36 mm long; lemma awns of the central florets 7-36 mm long......................ssp. intermedium Bowden

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Moist to dry, often alkaline, lakeshores, meadows, roadsides and waste places in the lowland, steppe and montane zones; frequent in S BC, infrequent northward; circumpolar, N to AK, YT, and NT, E to NF and S to SC, TN, AR, TX, NM, AZ, MX and CA; Eurasia, S America.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Hordeum jubatum

The table below shows the species-specific information calculated from
original data (BEC database) provided by the BC Ministry of Forests and Range.
(Updated August, 2013)

Site Information
Value / Class




Elevation (metres) 285 873 1891
Slope Gradient (%) 0 2 80
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
8 209 350
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
0 5 8
Modal Nutrient Regime
Number of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class
All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in: BG(23), BWBS(4), ESSF(4), IDF(90), MS(1), PP(34), SBPS(7), SBS(1)


The climate type for this species, as reported in the: "British Columbia plant species codes and selected attributes. Version 6 Database" (Meidinger et al. 2008), is not evaluated, unknown or variable.

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Hordeum caespitosum Scribn. ex Pammel
Hordeum jubatum var. caespitosum (Scribn. ex Pammel) Hitchc.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References