Barley (Hordeum), a genus of grasses represented by several wild species, and by several cereals, the wild forms of which are not exactly known. It is characterised by having its spikelets in two rows, one on each side of the rachis, with three flowers in each spikelet, and long awns to their glumes. The two chief species are H. hexastichum, the six-rowed barley, in which all the flowers are perfect and fertile, and H. distichum, the two-rowed, in which only the central flower in each spikelet produces a grain. Barley has been cultivated from very early times, and is largely ground into meal as food for pigs, and still more largely converted by artificially-stimulated germination into malt, from which beer is prepared by infusion and fermentation, and gin and whisky by distillation. When the fibrous coats of the grain are more or less completely removed it forms Scotch or pot barley and pearl barley. Barley is hardier than either wheat or oats.