Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Little Barley (Hordeum pusillum)
- Family: Grass (Poaceae)
- Flowering: April-June.
- Field Marks: The distinguishing features of this grass are its short stature and its small, erect spikes with straight awns.
- Habitat: Roadside ditches and many other habitats.
- Habit: Annual herb with fibrous roots.
- Stems: Usually erect, smooth, up to 6 inches tall.
- Leaves: Elongated and narrow, up to 3 inches long, up to 1/10 inch broad, smooth.
- Flowers: Borne in spikelets, with 3 spikelets in a group and all the spikelets forming a single, unbranched spike at the tip of the stem, the spike up to 3 inches long; central spikelet in each group of 3 forming pollen and grains, the 2 lateral spikelets sterile; central spikelet up to 1/6 inch long; all spikelets awned.
- Sepals: 0.
- Petals: 0.
- Stamens: 3.
- Pistils: Ovary superior; styles 2.
- Grains: Hairy at the tip, attached to a small scale.
- Notes: Although this species is eaten by livestock, the awns on the spikelets may cause injury to the mouths of the animals.
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