Hordeum vulgare, Common Barley, Beardless barley, Pearl barley,
Hebrew: שעורה תרבותית, Arabic: الشعير

Scientific name:  Hordeum vulgare L.
Common name:  Common Barley, Beardless barley, Pearl barley
Hebrew name:   שעורה תרבותית
Arabic name:  الشعير
Family:  Gramineae / Poaceae, דגניים

ישראל, פרחים, צמחי בר, שעורה תרבותית

Life form:  Annual
Stems:  60–120 cm tall, erect, stout, tufted; hollow, cylindrical internodes, separated by the nodes, which bear the leaves; A mature plant consists of a central stem and 2-5 branch stems, called tillers. The apex of the main stem and each fertile tiller carries a spike
Leaves:  Alternate, rosette, linear, entire; sheath surrounds the stem; blade; auricles and digule are smooth
Inflorescence:  17-25 cm long, including the awns, 1-5 cm broad
Flowers:  Inflorescence: ear, head or spike; spikelets directly to the axis; 3 spikelets at each node(triplets), alternating on opposite sides of the spike; each spikelet has 2 glumes (empty bracts), and 1 floret that includes the lemma, palea, and reproductive components; green
Fruits / pods:  Caryopsis, grain
Flowering Period:  April, May
Habitat:  Disturbed habitats
Distribution:  Mediterranean Woodlands and Shrublands
Summer shedding:  Ephemeral

Hordeum vulgare,Common Barley,Beardless barley, Pearl barley, الشعير,שעורה תרבותית


Derivation of the botanical name:
Hordeumm, Latin name for barley.
vulgare, common.
  • The standard author abbreviation L. is used to indicate Carl Linnaeus (1707 – 1778), a Swedish botanist, physician, and zoologist, the father of modern taxonomy.

Barley is one of the Five Species of Grain (wheat, barley, spelt, rye, and oats). Chometz (not allowed for consumption during the Jewish Passover holiday), is a product made from one of the Five Species of Grain, that have become leavened, i.e., and have come in contact with water and remained at least 18 minutes without any kneading or agitation whatsoever.
And Barley is one of the seven species with which the Land was blessed (Deut. 8:8). But it was considered inferior to wheat (Revelation 6:6 ...A quart of wheat for a day's wages, and three quarts of barley for a day's wages...).
Since it ripens a month or more before wheat, it was taken for the omer offerings at the Passover feast while the first grains of wheat were offered at the Feast of Pentecost.
Barley harvest is mentioned as the time of the arrival of Naomi with Ruth at Bethlehem: "So Naomi returned from Moab accompanied by Ruth the Moabitess, her daughter-in-law, arriving in Bethlehem as the barley harvest was beginning." (Ruth 1:22); and of the hanging of the sons of Saul by the Gibeonites: "He handed them over to the Gibeonites, who killed and exposed them on a hill before the LORD. All seven of them fell together; they were put to death during the first days of harvest, just as the barley harvest was beginning." (2 Sam. 21:9).
Barley, which is of the genus Hordeum, is a cereal that belongs to the grass family Poaceae. The most common variety is Hordeum vulgare, which is a six-rowed type of barley that has a spike notched on opposite sides with three spikelets on each notch.
There is evidence of barley grains found in pits and pyramids of Egypt over 5000 years ago. Barley Beer rather than wine is the oldest drink in the world. The Egyptians had learned the art of brewing from the world's first known brewers, the Sumerians, Babylonians, and Assyrians. Germinated barley was used to produce malt for brewing beer, what was done by the housewife or the servants.
Nowadays the Nubians (Egypt) brew a kind of beer called bouza and has been known by the Egyptians since the days of the Pharaohs. It has an alcoholic content of between 3.8% to 4.2%.
  • The scribe Ani from Thebes (Book of the Dead, created in the 19th dynasty of the New Kingdom of Ancient Egypt.) describes:
    "the good mother accustomed to bringing to her son, who attends school three loaves of bread and two jars of beer daily".
    In Egypt, beer was regarded as food. Three to four loaves of bread and two jars of beer with a few onions was considered a good daily ration.
    In fact, the old Egyptian hieroglyph for "meal" was a compound of those for "bread" and "beer".
    Brewing in Egypt was still going strong when the Greeks (332 BCE) arrived there.
  • The Greeks were no beer drinkers, they favored wine. Wine was known and consumed in Egypt, but it was mostly an upper-crust beverage. Beer, on the other hand, remained the people's drink.
  • Herodotus (ca. 484 BCE - ca. 425 BCE) describes beer made from barley as among the drinks of the Egyptians in his day, 450 BCE. Its production continued undiminished under Greek rule.
  • Pliny, Aristotle, Strabo and Diodorus Siculus (circa 90-21 BCE.): mention beer: "They make a drink from barley in Egypt, which is called zytum, and it compares not unfavorably in pleasantness of color and taste to wine." Sometimes a liquid made from crushed dates was added to make it even sweeter.
  • According to the Jewish law (prohibiting leaven to be seen or found in the house) on Passover is transgressed by the following articles:
    Median beer (made of wheat or barley), and Edomite vinegar (made by the fermentation of barley and wine), are prohibited, because they are both made of barley.
    Egyptian zeethum is, according to the Talmud, a mixture of barley, salt, and wild saffron, while according to Pliny, who calls it "zythum," (zytum) it is a medicine of Egyptian origin.

  • Bible resources:

    1. Exodus 9:31
      (The flax and barley were destroyed, since the barley had headed and the flax was in bloom.
    2. Leviticus 27:16
      “‘If anyone dedicates to the LORD part of their family land, its value is to be set according to the amount of seed required for it—fifty shekels of silver to a homer of barley seed.
    3. Numbers 5:15
      then he is to take his wife to the priest. He must also take an offering of a tenth of an ephah of barley flour on her behalf. He must not pour olive oil on it or put incense on it, because it is a grain offering for jealousy, a reminder-offering to draw attention to wrongdoing.
    4. Deuteronomy 8:8
      a land with wheat and barley, vines and fig trees, pomegranates, olive oil and honey;
    5. Judges 7:13
      Gideon arrived just as a man was telling a friend his dream. “I had a dream,” he was saying. “A round loaf of barley bread came tumbling into the Midianite camp. It struck the tent with such force that the tent overturned and collapsed.”
    6. Ruth 1:22
      So Naomi returned from Moab accompanied by Ruth the Moabite, her daughter-in-law, arriving in Bethlehem as the barley harvest was beginning.
    7. Ruth 2:17
      So Ruth gleaned in the field until evening. Then she threshed the barley she had gathered, and it amounted to about an ephah.
    8. Ruth 2:23
      So Ruth stayed close to the women of Boaz to glean until the barley and wheat harvests were finished. And she lived with her mother-in-law.
    9. Ruth 3:2
      Now Boaz, with whose women you have worked, is a relative of ours. Tonight he will be winnowing barley on the threshing floor.
    10. Ruth 3:15
      He also said, “Bring me the shawl you are wearing and hold it out.” When she did so, he poured into it six measures of barley and placed the bundle on her. Then he went back to town.
    11. Ruth 3:17
      and added, “He gave me these six measures of barley, saying, ‘Don’t go back to your mother-in-law empty-handed.’”
    12. 2 Samuel 14:30
      Then he said to his servants, “Look, Joab’s field is next to mine, and he has barley there. Go and set it on fire.” So Absalom’s servants set the field on fire.
    13. 2 Samuel 17:28
      brought bedding and bowls and articles of pottery. They also brought wheat and barley, flour and roasted grain, beans and lentils,
    14. 2 Samuel 21:9
      He handed them over to the Gibeonites, who killed them and exposed their bodies on a hill before the LORD. All seven of them fell together; they were put to death during the first days of the harvest, just as the barley harvest was beginning.
    15. 1 Kings 4:28
      They also brought to the proper place their quotas of barley and straw for the chariot horses and the other horses.
    16. 2 Kings 4:42
      [ Feeding of a Hundred ] A man came from Baal Shalishah, bringing the man of God twenty loaves of barley bread baked from the first ripe grain, along with some heads of new grain. “Give it to the people to eat,” Elisha said.
    17. 2 Kings 7:1
      Elisha replied, “Hear the word of the LORD. This is what the LORD says: About this time tomorrow, a seah of the finest flour will sell for a shekel and two seahs of barley for a shekel at the gate of Samaria.”
    18. 2 Kings 7:16
      Then the people went out and plundered the camp of the Arameans. So a seah of the finest flour sold for a shekel, and two seahs of barley sold for a shekel, as the LORD had said.
    19. 2 Kings 7:18
      It happened as the man of God had said to the king: “About this time tomorrow, a seah of the finest flour will sell for a shekel and two seahs of barley for a shekel at the gate of Samaria.”
    20. 1 Chronicles 11:13
      He was with David at Pas Dammim when the Philistines gathered there for battle. At a place where there was a field full of barley, the troops fled from the Philistines.
    21. 2 Chronicles 2:10
      I will give your servants, the woodsmen who cut the timber, twenty thousand cors of ground wheat, twenty thousand cors of barley, twenty thousand baths of wine and twenty thousand baths of olive oil.”
    22. 2 Chronicles 2:15
      “Now let my lord send his servants the wheat and barley and the olive oil and wine he promised,
    23. 2 Chronicles 27:5
      Jotham waged war against the king of the Ammonites and conquered them. That year the Ammonites paid him a hundred talents of silver, ten thousand cors of wheat and ten thousand cors of barley. The Ammonites brought him the same amount also in the second and third years.
    24. Job 31:40
      then let briers come up instead of wheat and stinkweed instead of barley.” The words of Job are ended.
    25. Isaiah 28:25
      When he has leveled the surface, does he not sow caraway and scatter cumin? Does he not plant wheat in its place, barley in its plot, and spelt in its field?

    Hordeum vulgare,Common Barley,Beardless barley, Pearl barley, שעורה תרבותית, الشعير