Up to 100 single plant derived lines of 18 barley landraces, collected from 18 localities of six barley growing regions of Ethiopia were studied for two years at Holetta, Ethiopia for variation in five quantitative traits; scald severity, earliness, plant height, 1000 grain weight, and leafiness. The relative latent period in the adult plant stage to barley leaf rust, a good measure for partial resistance, was assessed on the landrace lines at Wageningen, The Netherlands. The observed variation between and within landraces was very large for all traits. The magnitude of variation was so large that most, if not all, plants within a landrace had a different genotype. The landraces also varied in the degree of variation. Some landraces, 1726 and 3288 for instance, were more variable for most or all traits than other landraces such as 208925 and 212938. Days to heading and scald severity were significantly (P = 0.01) correlated with altitude, r being 0.66 and - 0.65, respectively. Resistance to scald and leafiness also increased with altitude. On average landraces became later, more resistant to scald and more leafy the higher the altitude of collection. This associated complex of traits could be an adaptation to the wetter and cooler conditions at higher altitudes.