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ORYZA sativa var. rufipogon

Image of Oryza sativa var. rufipogon

Family

Poaceae

Botanical Name

ORYZA sativa var. rufipogon

Plant Common Name

Rice

Special Notice

This entry has yet to be reviewed and approved by L2G editors.

General Description

Arguably the world's most important crop, cultivated rice has been a staple of Asian diets for more than 7,000 years. This annual grass was probably first domesticated in Southeast Asia and southern China from wild populations of the perennial Oryza rufipogon. Rice is now cultivated and consumed globally, but the bulk of the world's crop still originates in Asia. The lower Mississippi Valley and north-central California are centers of rice production in the United States.

This rhizomatous grass forms spreading clumps of upright to arching stems lined with long, slender, smooth green leaves. Branching panicles of greenish flower "spikelets" appear at the stem tips, typically in summer. Each spikelet consists of a single, inconspicuous, wind-pollinated flower enclosed in a tough, ovoid, flat-sided husk. The flower matures to a hard-coated seed or rice grain, which easily separates from the husk. Unhulled spikelets (known as "paddy") are threshed or otherwise processed to separate the grain from the hulls. The vitamin-rich outer coating of the grain is typically polished off to convert it from "brown" to "white rice."

Rice needs ample water, sunlight, and soil fertility to grow successfully, but submerged soil is not necessary. Drought or frost kills this tender grass, and numerous tropical insects and fungi are problematic, especially in large monocultures. Sow seed in warm soil in late winter or early spring, either in the ground or in pots. Keep soil damp at all times. Plant out container-grown seedlings after danger of frost. A few selections of Oryza sativa are grown for ornament rather than for food; these include the purple-leaved cultivar 'Nigrescens'.

Rice plants serve numerous economic roles. Dried rice straw is used in equatorial regions as house roof thatch, fuel, packing material and green fertilizer. Rice grain hulls may be used for cellulose. The grains, rich in starch, readily absorb water as well as any flavors in the water, making them an excellent food staple. They may also be ground into flour, or distilled to make wine.

Several different races of rice exist, including the long-grain indica and short-grained sativa (or japonica) types. Numerous dwarf and semi-dwarf rice varieties have been introduced.

Grains commonly known as "wild rice" belong to other plant genera such as Zizania.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 8

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    11 - 15

  • Sunset Zone

    H1, H2

  • Plant Type

    Grass

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun

  • Height

    1'-4' / 0.3m - 1.2m

  • Width

    6"-12" / 15.2cm - 30.5cm

  • Bloom Time

    Indeterminate

  • Native To

    Southeastern Asia

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Poorly Drained

  • Soil type

    Clay, Loam, Sand

  • Tolerances

    Wet Site

  • Growth Rate

    Very Fast

  • Water Requirements

    Ample Water

  • Habit

    Upright/Erect

  • Seasonal Interest

    Summer

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Insignificant

  • Flower Color

    Yellow

  • Fruit Color

    Tan, Sandy Brown

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Green

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    Yes

  • Showy Foliage

    No

  • Foliage Texture

    Fine

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    No

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Container, Edible, Tropical

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Attracts

    Birds

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes