Hordeum murinum

Photo: Joesph DiTomaso

Synonyms: Hordeum leporinum, Hordeum glaucum Steud., Hordeum stebbinsii Covas

Common names: hare barley, foxtail, wild barley, wall barley, smooth barley

Hordeum murinum (hare barley or foxtail) is an annual grass (family Poaceae) that is native to the Mediterranean, northern Africa, and temperate Asia. It is characterized by having a low stature (<=10 cm), inflorescences with long awns, and spikelets (each containing three florets) that disarticulate when they mature. Hare barely is common throughout California in disturbed areas and can persist even with frequent mowing by growing nearly flat. It can outcompete native perennials by growing into bare areas and prohibiting their establishment, is salt tolerant, and may increase fire risk by adding fine fuels. Spikelets can lodge in nasal passages, throats etc. of animals. Hare barley may have arrived in California with Spanish settlers and is more common than its near relative, Mediterranean barley (Hordeum marinum) in disturbed, dry upland areas.

Cal-IPC Rating: Moderate?

CDFA Rating: None?


Plant Assessment Form - Information gathered by Cal-IPC on the impacts, rate of spread, and distribution of invasive plants in California. Does not include management information.

Weed Management Notes

  • Management Notes - Information on management techniques and effectiveness from the University of California Cooperative Extension’s Weed Research & Information Center.

Cal-IPC Newsletter Articles

Cal-IPC Symposium Presentations

Presentations are linked where available. Where a presentation is not available, find more information by reading the abstract in the Cal-IPC Symposia Archive.

Other Hordeum murinum Information

  • Bugwood - National database from the Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health at the University of Georgia.
  • CalPhotos - Images of plants taken mostly in California.
  • Calflora - Distribution map and records of this species in California.
  • EDDMapS - Distribution of this species in North America.
  • Jepson Interchange - Information on this plant's taxonomy, biology, and distribution from UC Berkeley's Jepson Herbarium.
  • USDA PLANTS Database - Information on identification and distribution, with links to websites in individual states.
  • Additional photos

    Hordeum murinum_flower spike_copyright 2010_NealKramer
    Hordeum murinum (hare barley) flower spike. Photo: &#169 2010 Neal Kramer
    Hordeum murinum_growth form_copyright 2009_NealKramer
    Hordeum murinum (hare barley) growth form. Photo: &#169 2009 Neal Kramer