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Wall barley

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Scientific name: Hordeum murinum
The distinctive spiky, or 'bearded', green flower heads of Wall barley appear from June to July and are easy to spot in an urban environment as they push their way up through pavements and walls.

Top facts

Stats

Height: up to 50cm

Conservation status

Common.

When to see

January to December

About

The feathery flower spikes of Wall barley are a common sight along many urban pavements, pushing their way between the cracks in paving stones and walls. Wall barley is also commonly found on waste ground and bare patches in dry grasslands. Its flowers appear from June to July, and although they may look soft, they are as clingy as Burdock burs and have been the subject of many games as children desperately try to stick them to each other and unsuspecting pets.

What to look for

Wall barley has distinctive, 'bearded', green flower heads. Its spikelets (containing the flowers) are positioned close to each other in rows, forming a rectangular flower head with spiky tufts.

Where to find

Mainly found in England and Wales, scarce elsewhere.

Did you know?

Wall barley's Latin name, murinum, is derived from mouse (not wall as some may think) and this plant is known as 'Mouse Barley' in North America.