What is the botanical name of rice


The genus rice (Oryza) includes 24 annual or perennial species worldwide. Like the other cereals, they belong to the sweet grass family. Rice has small spikelets as inflorescences, which usually contain two sterile and one fertile (fertile) flowers and are arranged in panicles. The fertile flower is protected by a lemma. The pollen is transmitted through wind pollination. The culture rice (Oryza sativa)is grown as an annual. It grows to 120 cm high, its panicles (10-15 per plant) contain up to 300 grains of rice (Caryopses).

Rice is a grass that grows under natural conditions in warm, humid regions. In order to prevent pests and weeds from growing, it has been a practice since around 3,000 BC. The cultivation of wet rice developed. Although rice is not an aquatic plant, over the centuries breeding has evolved to cope with higher water levels by developing a ventilation system for the roots (aerenchymal tissue). About 80% of the rice harvest is carried out in this process. Terrace cultivation is a special form of wet rice cultivation.

In the case of dry rice cultivation, a subspecies of today's rice is used that is not adapted to flooding. This means that cultivation can also take place in areas where wet cultivation is not possible. However, these rice varieties need a high level of humidity. Dry rice is particularly valued because of its more intense flavor.

Most of the nutrients in rice are in its "coat", the so-called silver membrane. It lies between the fruit and the protective lemma and is removed from the polished white rice varieties. This is why white rice almost exclusively contains starch. The nutrients are retained in brown rice and give it its yellowish-green to brown-red color.

Origin and Distribution

Originally, wild rice was probably collected in India and China around 10,000 years ago and processed into dishes before it was grown. Other sources assume that rice was grown over 11,000 years ago, making it the first ever cultivated grain. Cultivation 7,000 to 6,000 years ago proven by scientific data is now considered likely.

In Japan rice was only introduced around 300 BC. Cultivated. Rice came to Europe through the Moors, before it was around 400 BC. BC came to Mesopotamia. Rice came to the Mediterranean via Alexander the Great, where it initially met with little interest from the Romans and Greeks. It was not until the Renaissance that rice was increasingly used. The cultivated rice widely used todayO. sativa was probably first cultivated in the valley of the Yangtze and the valley of the Ganges. There are now over 120,000 varieties of it.

Economical meaning

Rice is the most important staple food for almost half of the world's population. Around 95% of today's rice production takes place in Southeast Asia (China, Thailand, India). In Europe, it is mainly Italy, France, Portugal and Spain that grow rice. This usually happens in the deltas of large rivers, such as the Po Valley and the Rhone Delta.


Goff S.A. et al. (2002) A draft sequence of the rice genome (Oryza sativa L.ssp. japonica). Science 296 (5565): 92-100

Yu J. et al. (2002) A draft sequence of the rice genome (Oryza sativa L.ssp.indica). Science 296 (5565): 79-92