Fun Facts about Barley

Have you ever walked through a barley field? It’s interesting to see how barley is grown across our region. This important grain also has some intriguing growth, uses, and history. Here are a few fun facts about barley to pique your curiosity. 

Plant Facts:

Barley is technically a tall grass. With a stem that reaches between 30 and 35 inches it stands about waist high.  

The barley spike, the head on the top of the barley plant, is made up of 20 to 60 grains.

There are 8 essential amino acids in barley, vitamins of the B group and minerals such as magnesium, phosphorus, iron and zinc.


Here are a few interesting uses of barley. This versatile grain has been utilized to make all kinds of things since it was first cultivated. Here are some interesting highlights.

Due to its high nutritional value, barley is important part of human diet. It contributes to making malt, flour, cereals, and other foods.

Barley is also used to manufacture vinegar.

Roasted barley was used as a coffee substitute during the First and Second World Wars in Italy. This practice is picking up again since coffee made of barley doesn’t contain caffeine, and has additional health benefits.

Barley straws are sometimes used as algicide in England. Submerged barley straws decrease growth of algae without negative effects on the plants and animals in the ponds.


It’s no surprise that since barley was one of the first grains ever cultivated, barley has been used for a long time. Here are just a few examples of how barley has been used historically.

The Ancient Egyptians used barley to make bread and beer.

In the Ancient Greece, barley was used as a special food for gladiators because of the energy it gave them.

These facts remind us of the historic importance of barley and all of the useful things it is grown for today.