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Job’s tears (US) or Job’s-tears (UK), scientific name Coix lacryma-jobi, also known as coix seed, tear grass, hato mugi, adlay or adlai, is a tall grain-bearing perennial tropical plant of the family Poaceae (grass family) native to Southeast Asia but elsewhere cultivated in gardens as an annual. It has been naturalized in the southern United States and the New World tropics. In its native environment, it is grown in higher areas where rice and corn do not grow well. Job’s tears are also commonly sold as Chinese pearl barley in Asian supermarkets, although C. lacryma-jobi is not closely related to barley (Hordeum vulgare).
There are two main varieties of the species:
The wild variety Coix lacryma-jobi var. lacryma-jobi has hard-shelled pseudocarps which are very hard, pearly white, oval structures used as beads for making rosaries, necklaces, and other objects.
The cultivated variety Coix lacryma-jobi var. ma-yuen is harvested as a cereal crop, has a soft shell, and is used medicinally in parts of Asia.