Oryza aristata Blanco
Oryza communissima Lour.
Oryza denudata (Desv.) Steud.
Oryza elongata (Desv.) Steud.
Oryza formosana Masam. & Suzuki
Oryza glutinosa Lour.
Oryza marginata (Desv.) Steud.
Oryza montana Lour.
Oryza mutica Steud.
Oryza palustris Salisb.
Oryza parviflora P.Beauv.
Oryza perennis Moench
Oryza praecox Lour.
Oryza pubescens (Desv.) Steud.
Oryza rubribarbis (Desv.) Steud.
Oryza sorghoidea (Desv.) Steud.
Common Name: Rice
Photograph by: Gary Kramer, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.
Rice is an erect, usually annual grass though there are also perennial forms. It varies considerably in height and habit according to variety with cultivars ranging from 30 - 180cm tall[
Rice has been cultivated in India and China for at least 4,000 years[
]. It is one of the most commonly cultivated crops in the world, being grown for its edible seed in tropical to warm temperate climates around the world and forming a staple food for about half the world's human population[
Only known in cultivation.
Not known in a truly wild situation
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Rice can be grown in the moist tropics, subtropics and warm temperate zone, succeeding at elevations up to 2,500 metres in tropical areas. It grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are within the range 20 - 30°c, but can tolerate 10 - 36°c[
]. Growth ceases below 10°c and plants have no tolerance to frost[
]. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 1,500 - 2,000mm, but tolerates 1,000 - 4,000mm[
Requires a wet to inundated soil and a position in full sun[
]. Prefers a pH in the range 5.5 - 7, tolerating 4.5 - 9[
Depending upon variety, rice can mature a crop of seed in anything from 60 - 200 days[
There are many named varieties that have been developed from the original wild form and can be grown in a wide diversity of climates and soil types[
]. These can be grouped into three main forms:-
Japonica - developed in the cooler regions of the tropics and subtropics, it can also be grown in warm temperate areas. Small to medium plants, they develop few tillers and produce short, roundish grains that tend to be moist and sticky when cooked[
Javanica (often called tropical Japonica) - grown at higher elevations in the tropics, they are tall plants that develop few tillers. They produce long, broad, thick grains[
Indica - the major form of rice, cultivated widely at lower to medium elevations in the tropics and subtropics. Tall plants, they form many tillers and produce slender, short to long grains that are drier and flakier when cooked[
There are many different cultivars of each form. Some of these cultivars are starchy and are more suited to use in cakes, soups, pastry, breakfast foods etc[
]. Other cultivars have a sweeter, glutinous texture, these are used for special purposes such as sweetmeats[
Within these divisions, the varieties are further defined by whether they have short, medium or long grains[
]. Long grained forms usually have the highest value, though short-grained forms are preferred in many countries[
Seed - cooked. It is usually either boiled or steamed and can be eaten in a wide variety of both savoury and sweet dishes[
]. It is an essential accompaniment for curries and Far Eastern dishes, it is used in European dishes such as paella and risotto, whilst it is also used in sweet dishes such as rice pudding[
]. The grain can also be popped like popcorn to make a breakfast cereal[
An oil is obtained from the seed[
]. It is used in cooking and as a salad oil[
Rice is a nutritive, soothing, tonic herb that is diuretic, reduces lactation, improves digestion and controls sweating[
The seeds are taken internally in the treatment of urinary dysfunction[
]. The seeds, or the germinated seeds, are taken to treat excessive lactation[
]. The germinated seeds are used to treat poor appetite, indigestion abdominal discomfort and bloating[
The grains are often cooked with herbs to make a medicinal gruel[
The rhizome is taken internally in the treatment of night sweats, especially in cases of tuberculosis and chronic pneumonia[
]. The rhizomes are harvested at the end of the growing season and dried for use in decoctions[
Although grown mainly for food, rice starch it is also used in cosmetics, laundering starch, and textiles[
An oil is obtained from the seed[
]. It is used for soap manufacture and it is made into a plastic packaging material[
Rice straw is used for weaving into hats, shoes etc[
]. Rice straw is also used for making and repairing thatched houses in Bangladesh, Nepal and India. It is used for construction of grain storage structures, ropes, packaging material and bags in India[
]. It is also used as a fuel in Vietnam[
]. In China, India, Indonesia and Pakistan rice straw is used in the production of paper[
The grain husks are used as a fuel; as an addition to concrete; for making hardboard; and as an abrasive[