Plants perennial; loosely to densely cespitose. Culms to 90 cm, erect to geniculate, not bulbous; nodes glabrous. Sheaths glabrous or densely pubescent; auricles absent; blades to 19 cm long, to 8 mm wide, glabrous or with hairs on both surfaces, hairs sometimes of mixed lengths. Spikes 3-8.5 cm, green to somewhat purple. Glumes 7-19 mm, ascending to slightly divergent at maturity. Central spikelets: glumes 9-19 mm long, about 0.2 mm wide, setaceous throughout, rarely flattened near the base; lemmas 5.5-10 mm, usually glabrous, rarely pubescent, awned, awns 3.5-14 mm; anthers 0.8-4 mm. Lateral spikelets staminate; glumes 7-19 mm, setaceous; lower glumes sometimes flattened near the base; lemmas rudimentary to well developed, awns to 7.5 mm, rarely absent; anthers 0.8-4 mm. 2n = 14, 28, 42.
Wash., Pacific Islands (Hawaii), Wyo., N.H., N.J., N.Mex., Tex., N.Y., Pa., Oreg., Alta., B.C., Nfld. and Labr., Que., Sask., Yukon, Nev., Colo., Alaska, Ill., Ind., Ariz., Calif., Idaho, Maine, Md., Ohio, Utah, Mo., Mont., Miss.
Hordeum brachyantherum is native to the Kamchatka Peninsula and western North America, and has been introduced to a few locations in the eastern United States. There is also a small disjunct population in Newfoundland and Labrador that Baum (1978) identified as H. secalinum. Hordeum brachyantherum grows in salt marshes, pastures, woodlands, subarctic woodland meadows, and subalpine meadows.
|1||Basal sheaths usually glabrous, sometimes sparsely pubescent; anthers 0.8-3.5 mm long; culms often robust, sometimes slender||Hordeum brachyantherum subsp. brachyantherum|
|1||Basal sheaths usually densely pubescent; anthers 1.1-4 mm long; culms usually slender||Hordeum brachyantherum subsp. californicum|