Job’s tears, scientific name Coix lacryma-jobi, also known as adlay or adlay millet, is a tall grain-bearing perennial tropical plant of the family Poaceae (grass family). It is native to Southeast Asia, but introduced to Northern China and India in remote antiquity, and 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 at higher elevation areas where rice and corn do not grow well. Job’s tears are also commonly sold as Chinese pearl barley.
There are two main varieties of the species, one wild and one cultivated. The wild variety, Coix lacryma-jobi var. lacryma-jobi, has hard-shelled pseudocarps—very hard, pearly white, oval structures used as beads for making prayer beads or 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 used medicinally in parts of Asia.