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Yavapai County Native & Naturalized Plants

Hordeum murinum - mouse barley
Other Common Names: farmer's foxtail, foxtail barley, squirrel grass

Plant Form:Grass

Family: Poaceae

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Plant and blades

Max Licher @http://swbiodiversity.org, Usage Rights: Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike (CC BY-SA)
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Patrick Alexander @http://swbiodiversity.org, Usage Rights: Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike (CC BY-SA)
  Grass Description -   Glossary of Grass Terminology

Origin: Introduced    Season: Cool
Habitat Description: Weed of moist disturbed soils below 9,000 ft.
Plant Communities: Riparian, Disturbed Areas
Elevation: Below 9000 feet

General Description

Desc: Grass clumps are loose tufts of erect stems that branch and spread from the base. Plant surfaces may be smooth or hairy.
Identification notes: Spikelets arranged in a bilateral spike, 3 spikelets per node, central with a fertile floret, lateral spikelets staminate; lemmas of the central florets subequal to those of the lateral florets; lateral lemmas with awns 1/8 to 1/2 inch long.
Grass Type: Annual  Rhizomes: N  Stolons: N
Large Dense Clump (> 2 feet): N  Bushy (highly branched): N
Height with Seedheads: 12 to 24 inches
Seedhead Structure: Unbranched  Seedhead Droops: N
Flowering Period: Apr - Jun

Flower Characteristics

Number of Flowers per Spikelet: One-flowered  Spikelets One-sided: N
Awns: 1/4 inch to 1 inch   Three Awns: N  Awns Bent: N

Flower and Seedhead Notes: Seedhead spikes are green, turning purplish just before maturity. Seedhead stems are erect and often partly enclosed in the inflated upper sheath. Spikelets 3 per node, sessile or sub-sessile, central with a fertile floret, lateral spikelets staminate.

Vegetative Characteristics

Blade Hairy: Y  Blade with White Margin: N  Blade Cross Section: Flat  
Blade Notes: Leaves are flat, occasionally with involute margins, without hairs or sometimes sparsely hairy, sometimes rough to the touch, blue-green, or gray, or with white glands.
Sheath Hairy: Y  Tuft of Hairs Top of Sheath or Collar: N  Ligules: Membranous
Auricles (Ear-like lobes at base of blades): Y
Vegetative Notes: Auricles are well developed and ligules are short and membranous. Sheaths without hairs or somewhat hairy.

Forage Value: This grass provides palatable early forage for stock and wildlife but also causes serious injury to animals once the seedheads dry and harden.

  Arizona Cooperative Extension
Yavapai County
840 Rodeo Dr #C
Prescott, AZ 86305
(928) 445-6590
Version 8.0  
Last Updated: Dec 13, 2022
Content Questions/Comments: Email Matt Halldorson  
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