Hordeum marinum (sea barley)
Hordeum marinum in Lagos, Portugal (Photo: Júlio Reis licensed under CC by 3.0)
Hordeum marinum Huds.
sea barley, seaside barley
Vulnerable (VU) in Great Britain according to IUCN Red List criteria.
Bare soil on coastlines, margins of dried-up saline pools, disturbed verges inland of sea walls and salt marshes.
Potential for use in crop breeding.
Barley grasses can cause problems for sheep such as eye injuries, reduced weight gain and inferior wool quality.
About this species
A member of the grass family (Poaceae), Hordeum marinum is a salt-tolerant wild relative of the economically important cereal barley (H. vulgare).
Sea barley occurs on bare soil on the coast, around dried-up salty pools in salt marshes, and on rare occasions may be found on sandy or stony areas. Its tolerance of high salt levels and the water-logging that commonly accompanies it, makes sea barley a candidate for hybridisation with wheat (Triticum species). Increasing salinity of arable land is a costly problem for farmers worldwide, reducing plant growth and thus crop yields.