Barley (hordeum), a grain more widely distributed and generally used than any other, and from the most remote tunes an important article of the food of man. Pliny speaks of it as the first grain cultivated for nourishment. It is adapted to hot and cold climates, in the former being obtained in two successive crops in a season. Where it originated is not known, but the plant grows wild in Sicily and the interior of Asia, and the common species is stated by Pursh to occur apparently wild in some parts of the United States. The barley cultivated in this country is of two species, H. vulgare and H. distichum, the grains of the former being arranged in four rows, and of the latter in two. A third species is cultivated in Europe, H. hexastichum, also called the autumn and winter barley. This has six rows of grains, each row terminating in along beard. This is always sown in the fall, and ripens the first in the summer. Its grains are small, but the yield is large - sometimes 20 for 1. The Scotch bere or bigg is of this species. 77. distichum, or English barley, originally from Tar-tary, has no grain beard, is more productive than the other kinds, and succeeds in almost all soils. The grain is excellent feed for cattle and barnyard stock.
The crop in Great Britain is from 28 to 40 bushels to the acre, the weight of the bushel being from 50 to 54 lbs., according to the quality of the grain. The total production of barley in the United States in 1870 was 15,825,898 bushels. In California it is next to wheat the most important grain crop, sometimes yielding largely for five successive years without renewed sowing; its production in 1870 was 4,415,426 bushels. The next largest crop was in New York, 4,180,668 bushels; then follow Ohio, 1,663,868; Illinois, 1,0-36,3:58; Maine, 802,108; Wisconsin, 707,307; and Pennsylvania, 530,714. In most of the other states, especially of the south, the production is small. - Barley hulled and ground makes a coarse, heavy kind of bread, and is very extensively employed in the manufacture of beer, and to some extent for medicinal purposes. Barley corns are of an oval, elongated shape, pointed at one end and obtuse at the other, and marked with a longitudinal furrow. Their color externally is yellowish, but within they are white. Stripped of their outer covering or husk, and rounded and polished in a mill, the grains are pearly white, and are then known as pearl barley. This is the form in which they are always kept by druggists.
Barley flour analyzed by Einhoff was found to contain, in 1.000 parts, starch, 720 parts; sugar, 56; mucilage, 50; gluten, 36.6; vegetable albumen, 12.3; water, 1(H); phosphate of lime, 2.5; and fibrous or woody matter, 68. The quality of the grain is judged of by the quantity of water it absorbs when steeped in it; 100 lbs. of good barley gain by absorption 47 lbs. of water. - From the times of Hippocrates and Galen, barley drinks have been in high repute in febrile and inflammatory complaints. They possess mild, soothing qualities, while at the same time they impart nourishment.