Meadow Barley (Hordeum Brachyantherum) | Turf Online Knowledge Base

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Meadow Barley (Hordeum Brachyantherum)

Key facts about Meadow Barley

  • Height: 90-100cm
  • Flowering Time: June – July
  • Flower colour: Green
  • Growth habit: Tufted
  • Habitat: Likes damp soil. Especially old meadows, floodplains and coastal grassland
  • Appears in: Meadowmat for Garden Birds and Bees  

A Brief Description of Meadow Barley

Meadow Barley flower head

All grasses have a certain charm to them. This one in particular is wonderful for bringing movement to the meadow without detracting from the beautiful flowers around it.

Meadow barley has long inflorescences (around 8 – 10cm) with lots of tiny seeds attached. Each seed has a long awn – similar to cultivated barley. The awn that allows the seed to attach to animal fur (or your clothes) for distribution.

Leaves form a nice little tuft. In spring and early summer, leaves are a pretty mid-green colour. This fades to a honey-brown colour as summer progresses.

Where to use this wild grass

Meadow barley is not as showy as the cultivated grasses you might see for sale in the garden centre. Therin lies its beauty. It’s great for filling the gaps between flowering plants to keep the soil cool and to provide shelter for mini beasts. Perfect for use in borders or wildflower areas. It’s also great for conservation areas where it makes a huge contribution to soil stabilisation.

Meadow Barley in Meadowmat

We’ve added Meadow Barley to the seed mix for Meadowmat Birds and Bees for a few reasons

  • Reliable and very easy to grow
  • Perennial grass that is non-invasive
  • Delicate leaves that won’t overpower or detract from flowers
  • Great for insect perches or to shelter the minibeasts that attract birds
  • Grows well in damp soil

Discover which plants grow alongside Meadow Barley in Meadowmat for Birds and Bees 

One of our favourite Meadowmat grasses is Quaking Grass. Read more about it here.