Hordeum jubatum is a perennial (annual or biennial according to Fernald) C3 grass (Waller and Lewis 1979), 60 cm, stems tufted, from fibrous roots, pale green turning purplish, then pale tan.
Leaves small, to 0.6 cm wide, several along stem, gray-green or purplish, twisted, softly hairy on both sides, ligule 0.1 cm, membranous.
Flower spikelets in sets of 3, only the central one fertile, glumes awn-like, lemma long-awned, as grains ripen, awns twist, breaking axis off top of inflorescence and dispersing long-awned fruit, self compatible; inflorescence a nodding spike to 12 cm, with long hair-like awns to 8 cm; blooms July-Aug.
Wetland status: FAC.
Frequency in NYC: Infrequent.
Origin: Western N. America.
Habitat: Open areas with bare soil. Moist soil or fill.
Notes: Seeds and leaves eaten by birds and small mammals (Martin et al. 1951). Seeds not very persistent in soil seed bank, only a few alive after 7 years (Best et al. 1978).Tolerant of saline soil, salt content to 1.5%; (electrical conductivity 6-26 mill mhos, a unit of electrical conductance that is correlated to salt content), prefers moist, high nutrient, alkaline soil, pH 7.3-8.1. Attacked or visited by a number of insects including: Ceutorhynchus sulcipennis (a minute seed weevil, Coleoptera: Ceutorhnchinae), and Phyllotreta cruciferae (a flea beetle; Coleoptera: Alticinae); Hylemya platura (a fly; Diptera: Anthomyiidae); and Thyreocoris pulicaria (a Negro bug, Corimelaenidae: Homoptera). May be infected by the stripe rust fungus Puccinia glumarum (Basidiomycotina: Hemibasidiomycetes). These fungi often infect grasses and grain plants including wheat and several species of Agropyron (Best et al. 1978; Agrios 1988; Borror and White 1970; White 1983).