Your gateway to a wide range of natural resources information and associated maps

Victorian Resources Online


Back | Salinity Indicator Plants Home | Common name home | Scientific name home | Photo Gallery | Glossary

Barley-grass photos

Scientific Name:Hordeum leporinum (syn. Hordeum murinum subsp. leporinum, Critesion murinum subsp. leporinum)
Barley Grass plants
Barley-grass plants
Photo: A J Brown


Native to Europe and Asia.

Plant Description:

Tufted annual grass to 50 cm high with hairless or sparsely hairy, flat leaves to 15 cm long and 2-8 mm wide. Flower-heads are dense cylindrical spikes 3-10 cm long. Spikelets are arranged in groups of three with only the central spikelet of each triad being bisexual; the others being male. Each spikelet is subtended by two glumes which are more or less reduced to bristles; the single floret/spikelet also terminates in a long straight bristle or awn. Anthers are usually pale coloured, 1 mm long.


Grows in a wide range of habitats and regarded as a weed of pastures, crops, roadsides and waste areas. Can grow on seasonal swamps, including the higher parts of saline flats during the wetter parts of the season but unlike other Barley-grass species, not persisting where salt levels rise during the summer.
RegionSalinity ClassWaterlogging Class
Loddon Murray, Central and Northern, WimmeraS0W1, W2
Western, GippslandS0, *S1W0, W1, W2
*may be found on or fringing saline sites during the wetter parts of the year


In the drier parts of the State, this species is replaced with Northern Barley-grass (
Hordeum glaucum syn. H. murinum subsp. glaucum, Critesion murinum subsp. glaucum). Northern Barley-grass generally has bluer coloured leaves and small blackish anthers. Also similar to Sea Barley-grass (Hordeum marinum), Mediterranean Barley-grass (Hordeum hystix) and cultivated Barley (Hordeum vulgare). See Notes on spikelet differences in Barley-grass species.

Barley-grass photos

Barley Grass flower-heads
Barley-grass flower-heads
Photo: A J Brown
Barley Grass emerging flower-head
Emerging flower-head of Barley-grass
Photo: A J Brown

Barley Grass spikelets
Barley-grass spikelets
Photo: A J Brown

Barley Grass spikelets
Mature spikelets of Barley-grass
Photo: A J Brown

Page top