Mittwoch, 10. August 2011

Plant of the Day (August 10th, 2011) - Hordeum vulgare L.


Today's “Plant of the Day” is Hordeum vulgare L. from the Poaceae family. In English, this plant is known as “Barley” and in German as “Saat-Gerste”.

 H. vulgare - habitus

H. vulgare is a grass, that can reach heights until 120 centimetres. The leaves are narrow and very long. Their leaf sheaths enclose the whole stem; this is a good distinctive feature towards the very similar looking grass Secale cereale L.(rye). The whole plant is bald.

H. vulgare - leaf-sheat and leaf

The species belongs to the so called “ear-grasses”, that means, its inflorescence is a real ear, where the flowers are sitting directly on the floral-axis. These flowers are arranged multi-line. Each flower has a narrow, lineal-shaped glume and a very long awn. Another interesting feature of H. vulgare is the flexibility of their floral-axis. If you bend them, it will not broke, which is a good distinctive feature towards other species of the Genus Hordeum.

H. vulgare - ear

Hordeum vulgare L. is one of the worlds most important grains. It's also one of the oldest, cultivated cereals and was first planted over ten-thousand years ago in the Orient. Today it's used as forage grass, while dry plants are used as malt to make beer and other alcoholic beverages. It can also be found very often on ruederal wastelands, roadsides and parks. In this case, some seeds were spread by the wind from the fields.

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