Little Barley: Hordeum pusillum
|Weed Description: A
short winter annual grass that resembles barley or wheat when mature. Little barley
rarely reaches more than 2 feet in height and may occur as a weed of pastures, hay fields,
and roadsides in Virginia, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, and
Stems: Little barley ranges from 4 to 24 inches in height. Stems turn brown in the spring once this plant has matured. Leaf sheaths are round and usually without hairs but may occasionally have hairs present. The sheath also has split, overlapping, translucent (hyaline) margins.
|Leaves: Leaves are rolled in the bud
and without auricles. Leaf blades may reach as much as 8 inches in length and range
from 1 1/2 to 6 mm in width. Leaves may be without hairs or may have short hairs
above and below. Leaves have a membranous ligule that is cut squarely across the top
and not tapered or rounded (truncate). Ligules are very small and usually range from
0.2 to 0.6 mm in length.
Roots: A fibrous root system.
|Flowers: Seed heads consist of
flattened spikes that also turn tan to brown when mature. Each spikelet contains
awns that may range from 2 to 12 mm in length.
Identifying Characteristics: A small winter annual grass that generally has a bluish-green color like that of many winter small grains. Additionally, little barley turns distinctly tan to brown in color in the early spring when mature. These characteristics, along with the grain-like seedhead, help to distinguish little barley from most other winter annuals.