Difference Between Barley and Wheat

Barley and wheat are two types of plants that are grown for food purposes. Its use has been fundamental since ancient times in view of its great nutritional virtues for human nutrition, since it provides a large amount of vitamins and minerals to the body.

They are morphologically very similar herbs, but they differ from each other in terms of nutritional contributions and use for different types of food. In this article we will present the main differences between these two plants based on their brief definitions.


Barley, whose scientific name is -Hordeum vulgare- is a cereal (grass or herbaceous plants that produce essential grains for human and animal nutrition) belonging to the botanical family of proaceae plants.

The barley plant can grow up to 110 centimeters in height. There are many varieties of barley , however, all have the physical characteristic of the presence of a hollow stem in the form of a cane and the inflorescence (which is the arrangement of the flowers on the stem) in the form of a spike, where the grains are formed, which is the edible part of the plant.

Among the most widely consumed types of barley are two-row barley or also called malting barley, which is used to make alcoholic beverages and malts . Next, six-row or equine barley, which is used as cattle and horse feed, protected-seed barley, which is used for animal feed, and bare-seed barley, which is used for human consumption in the preparation of pasta, bread, and combined processed cereals.


Wheat, whose scientific name is -Triticum Sativum Lam- , is a cereal of the grass family. It is a plant that produces a seed that is widely used for human consumption due to its numerous nutritional properties. Its branches can grow up to 3 meters high, have a hollow stem and produce a spike-shaped inflorescence, where the grain is produced.

Wheat consumption is made up of 75% by the production of wheat flour, used to make bread , a smaller percentage is used for the production of gluten, dextrose and other industrial products. It is a plant very rich in iron and vitamin E, it also contains selenium, potassium and phosphorus, which are very good minerals to eliminate toxins from the blood.

The wheat grain consists of several parts such as the protective layer known as bran, very rich in protein and fiber that is used to make bread, cookies and whole foods. The inner layers that are the testa, the endosperm and the germ are the most used part of the wheat grain, since it is refined for the elaboration of various types of flour for human consumption.

Although barley and wheat are plants that belong to the same family, it can be seen that there are differences between them, so their use is also different. Below we present a table with the description of some characteristics that indicate the most important differences between barley and wheat :

Barley Wheat
The stem of barley can grow up to 110 centimeters in height. The stem of wheat can grow up to 3 meters high.
The grain of barley is small and rounded. The grain of wheat is large and elongated.
Barley is mainly used for malting. Wheat is mainly used for making flour.

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