A hydroponic experiment was conducted to elucidate the difference in growth and cell ultrastructure between Tibetan wild and cultivated barley genotypes under moderate (150 mM NaCl) and high (300 mM NaCl) salt stress. The growth of three barley genotypes was reduced significantly under salt stress, but the wild barley XZ16 (tolerant) was less affected relative to cultivated barley Yerong (moderate tolerant) and Gairdner (sensitive). Meanwhile, XZ16 had lower Na⁺ and higher K⁺ concentrations in leaves than other two genotypes. In terms of photosynthetic and chlorophyll fluorescence parameters, salt stress reduced maximal photochemical efficiency (Fv/ Fm), net photosynthetic rate (Pn), stomatal conductance (Gs), and intracellular CO₂ concentration (Ci). XZ16 showed relatively smaller reduction in comparison with the two cultivated barley genotypes. The observation of transmission electron microscopy found that fundamental cell ultrastructure changes happened in both leaves and roots of all barley genotypes under salt NaCl stress, with chloroplasts being most changed. Moreover, obvious difference could be detected among the three genotypes in the damage of cell ultrastructure under salt stress, with XZ16 and Gairdner being least and most affected, respectively. It may be concluded that high salt tolerance in XZ16 is attributed to less Na⁺ accumulation and K⁺ reduction in leaves, more slight damage in cell ultrastructure, which in turn caused less influence on chloroplast function and photosynthesis.