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Hordeum vulgare

SynonymsSee Notes
Common namesbarley, cebada, cevada, damai, gebs, Gerste, orge
Ecocrop code1232

DESCRIPTION: A freely tillering cultivated grass and cereal crop reaching a height of 50-100 cm. As with wheat and oats, barley also presents two types of root systems. In the first, the seedling roots develop from germination to the tillering stage; in the second, which starts at tillering, the secondary crown roots, or adventitious roots, appear. These will serve to anchor the plant, and to provide it with water and nutrients. The depth they reach will depend on the hydric condition of the soil, its texture and structure, external and internal temperatures, and on the genetic make up of the variety. The stems of the barley plant are erect and made up of 5 to 7 hollow, cylindrical internodes or joints, separated by the nodes, which bear the leaves. As in all Gramineae, the leaves are placed opposite their neighbours along the stem. The leaves are linear lanceolate and formed of sheath, blade, auricles and ligule. The sheaths surround the stem completely. The ligule, and especially the auricles, distinguish barley from other cereal grains: they are glabrous, envelop the stem and can be pigment with anthocyanins. Flowers-spikes: the last internode of the stem extends as a rachis, which bears the spicules alternating on its nodes. Spikes of distich barleys do not have a terminal spicule as do those of wheat. Spikes can be awned, mutic (blunt) or hooded, and also can be smooth or toothed. The spikes can have two or six rows of grain, depending on the fertility of the lateral spikes. The rachis has 10 to 30 nodes, so the ears of six-row barleys can have from 25 up to 60 grains, and two-row barleys 25 to 30. The fruit is an oval, ridged caryopsis with rounded ends. The spike may be long or short, according to the plant type, but it always has several glumes with filiform awns that may diverge. Seeds are generally covered, with the palea and the lemma adhered to them, or can be open. Grains can be white in colour, blue, black, etc. Barley is predominantly autogamous. USES: In the traditional areas, most barley is use for animal feed (half of the world's barley production). In the non-traditional areas, barley's principal use is as food, followed by animal feed and use as raw material for the malting industry. Pearl barley (used in soups, or fed to live stock) is the decorticated caryopsis, while barley that is allowed to germinate and is then dehydrated is called malt. A very nourishing drink made from the latter can be used as a substitute for coffee. Barley is also used commercially in the making of beer and whiskey. The cereal is prepared for eating by boiling or parching the whole grain. It can then be ground for gruel or made into flour for baking. Barley can also be grown as a hay crop. The caryopsis is used to prepare decoctions and fluid extract. It has nutritive, emollient and anticatarrhal properties. KILLING T.: The main climatic mishap is frost damage to the seedlings, when the death of many plants can drastically thin out the crop. At the seedling stage, barley is more susceptible to freezing conditions than wheat. The minimum temperature for germination occurs between 3-4°C, the optimal temperature being about 20°C, and the maximum temperature between 28-30°C. GROWING PERIOD: Annual grass, can be harvested after 90-120 days for spring varieties, and after 180-240 days for winter varieties. COMMON NAMES: barley, food barley, feed barley, malting barley, orge, cebada, gerste, gebs, garbu, segem, schair, sheko, bongo. FURTHER INF.: Scientific synonym: H. sativum. Barley is grown from 70°N in Europe to arid regions near the Sahara and up to 4700 m in elevation in the Himalayas. In the tropics, the plant can normally only be successfully grown at elevations above 1800 m and in moderate to low humidity. Geographically, barley is the most widely distributed of all cereal crops. The crop is cultivated from Alten in Norway (70º N), inside the Arctic Circle, to tropical Timbuktu in Mali at around 17ºN. In the Americas, it is grown from latitude 65ºN in Alaska Nilan, 1964 to 53ºS in southern Chile. The photosynthesis pathway is C3 I. Yields in the United States vary between 1-5 t/ha while the average yields in Africa are about 1.2 t/ha. Heavy impermeable soils and light acid soils are unsuitable for barley.
Purdue NewCROP
Plants For A Future
Sims D (pers. comm.)
Rehm S 1991 pp 23-24 [TEMP, SAL, RAIN]
Dube P 1982 pp 36
Sys C 1984 pp 70
Maas E 1990 pp 271 [SAL]
Sys C 1990 pp 12
Russell G 1990
Landon J 1984 pp 280 289 [DRA, DEP, FER]
Hartmann T 1981 pp 487-488 [DRA, SAL, FER, TEXT]
Roecklein J 1987 pp 27 [USE]
Kung P 1970 pp 205
Edwards S up pp 78
Kernick M 1961 pp 189-192 [PHO, RAIN, FER, DRA, TEXT, USE]
Goodin J 1990 pp 36
Jansen P 1991 pp 179
Onwueme I 1991 pp 225-231 [TEMP, RAIN, DRA, TEXT, SAL, PH]