Job’s Tears is a tropical grass native to Southeast Asia, and has been naturalized in Southern America as well as the Caribbean. Job’s Tears is a member of the grass and rice family of plants (poaceae). Wide ornamental blades grow upright and arch at their ends. Long, beautiful spikes of grain are produced in the warm seasons, swelling into gorgeous strings of seeds that resemble pearls, or tears. This unique grain is often described as resembling barley in both size, color and form.
The plant is self-seeding annually, and is a perennial around the east coast and in warmer climates. This plant creates an excellent textured foliage, making it a great hedge plant. It’s also well-suited to grow in containers, easily reaching heights of 4 to 6ft. It is best to plant Job’s Tears during the rainy season, in Spring (right now!!). Grain heads will sprout and be ready for ample harvest as the weather becomes more dry.
Job’s Tears has several edible uses, primarily as a cereal grain. In Asia it is commonly used to make grain alcohol that is often sweetened and combined with spices. A milk like drink similar to Horchata can be made from the grains as well. Medicinally, the bran is known to have cancer fighting properties. The pea-shaped grains of the plant naturally have a hole that easily allows for stringing of the grains. They are moisture resistant, and durable and are often used to make necklaces and rosaries due to the added symbolism of the tear-shape.
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