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Squirrel Tail Grass (Hordeum jubatum)

Squirrel Tail Grass (Hordeum jubatum)

Hordeum jubatum is known as Squirrel-tail Grass due to the squirrel-tail tuffed end.  It may also be called Foxtail Barley. The grass is short-lived and is best suited to full sun and drier conditions. It grows actively during the spring and fall when soil temperatures are cool.  However, Squirrel-tail Grass seems to have no specific preference to soil type.  It can be found along highways in very dry sand or gravel, in pastures with mesic loam, or near ditches and marshes in medium-moist conditions.  It is a hardy grass that has a high tolerance to changing conditions (salt and alkaline).


The grass attracts some insects that feed off the plant, such as grasshoppers and certain types of larvae. When the grass is young, it may be eaten by livestock. However, as the plant matures, the seedheads can cause injury to grazing animals so they generally leave it alone. The seeds can hitchhike on animals' fur to self-propagate in new areas.

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