Barley (Hordeum vulgare), a member of the grass family, is a major cereal grain grown in temperate climates globally. It was one of the first cultivated grains, particularly in Eurasia as early as 10,000 years ago. Globally 70% of barley production is used as animal fodder,while 30% as a source of fermentable material for beer and certain distilled beverages, and as a component of various foods. It is used in soups and stews, and in barley bread of various cultures. Barley grains are commonly made into malt in a traditional and ancient method of preparation. Barley is a member of the grass family. It is a self-pollinating, diploid species with 14 chromosomes. The wild ancestor of domesticated barley, Hordeum vulgare subsp. spontaneum, is abundant in grasslands and woodlands throughout the Fertile Crescent area of Western Asia and northeast Africa, and is abundant in disturbed habitats, roadsides, and orchards. Outside this region, the wild barley is less common and is usually found in disturbed habitats. However, in a study of genome-wide diversity markers, Tibet was found to be an additional center of domestication of cultivated barley. The Old English word for barley was bere, which traces back to Proto-Indo-European and is cognate to the Latin word farina "flour" (see corresponding entries).The direct ancestor of modern English barley in Old English was the derived adjective bærlic, meaning "of barley". The first citation of the form bærlic in the Oxford English Dictionary dates to around 966 CE, in the compound word bærlic-croft. The underived word bære survives in the north of Scotland as bere, and refers to a specific strain of six-row barley grown there.The word barn, which originally meant "barley-house", is also rooted in these words. The Latin word hordeum (see), used as barley's scientific genus name, is derived from an Indo-European root meaning "bristly" after the long prickly awns of the ear of grain.
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