Oryza, rice, is a genus of 24 species of annual or sometimes perennial grasses in the Poaceae (grass family) endemic in tropical and often swampy parts of Africa, Asia, and Australia, with a few species native to Central and South America. The genus includes the species of rice (Oryza sativa) that is one of the two most important cereal crops world for human consumption (the other is wheat, Triticum species; corn, Zea mays is produced in larger amounts, but a sizable portion of it is used for livestock feed and making ethanol for biofuel), and that is now cultivated in wet areas of tropical, semi-tropical, and temperate regions worldwide. Rice has also been important as a model system in plant biology, and is the first plant species for which the genome has been fully mapped.
Several other species of rice are cultivated to a much lesser extent than O. sativa. African rice, O. glaberrima, is the other species most widely cultivated as a food crop, but it is largely being replaced by O. sativa. Three other species of rice are cultivated locally in parts of Africa: Oryza barthii, a progenitor of O. glaberrima); Oryza longistaminata, a perennial with a high water requirement; and Oryza punctata, which is endemic in eastern Africa and commonly used in central Sudan. The name “wild rice” may refer to any of these species, or of the non-cultivated species of Oryza, but is generally used to refer to North American species in the genus Zizania.
Oryza grasses may grow in a tuft (clump) or spread out from rhizomes (creeping roots). They generally have upright culms (stems) up to 2 m or more tall, with long, flat leaf blades. The flowers grow on broad, open terminal panicles (branched clusters). The oblong spikelets, which each contain a single flower (that develops into a single kernel of grain), are sparse along the stem rather than forming dense clusters. The harvested kernel, known as a rice paddy, is enveloped in a hull or husk that is removed during milling.
Oryza sativa has hundreds of cultivars with different grain color, size, and shape, as well as environmental tolerances and seasonality—the types are generally categorized as valley rice, upland rice, spring rice, and summer rice. It is generally grown in fields that are flooded for part of the growing season—whether from irrigation (the majority of cultivation), rainfed or floodplain systems--which help reduces competition from other plants, among other benefits; some upland varieties can be grown without flooding, but they account for only 4% of rice cultivated worldwide.
Rice is thought to have been domesticated in India and brought to China by 3,000 B.C. It was cultivated in Babylon and the Middle East by 2,000 years ago, and spread to the Europe during medieval times. Rice is now cultivated in countries around the world, and serves as a major calorie source for as much as half the world’s population.
The FAO estimates that the total commercial harvest of rice in 2010 was 672.0 million metric tons, harvested from 153.7 million hectares—around 3% of the planet’s agricultural land. China and India were the leading producers, followed by Indonesia, Bangladesh, and Vietnam; the U.S. is ranked 10th. Within the U.S., Arkansas accounts for the largest share of rice cultivation, followed by California, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, and Texas.
(Bailey et al. 1976, Ecocrop 2012, Encyclopedia Britannica 1993, FAOSTAT 2012, Flora of China 1994, Gillis 2005, Hedrick 1919, NRC 1996, Science 2002, USDA 2012, van Wyk 2005, Wikipedia 2012.)
Molecular Biology and Genetics
Statistics of barcoding coverage
Specimens with Sequences:285
Specimens with Barcodes:107
Species With Barcodes:27
Traditional Rice of Sri Lanka
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According to documentary evidence, Sri Lanka had Rice Cultivations as early as 800 B.C., This is further reflected by the construction of massive irrigation structures, reservoirs, interconnected canals since 390 B.C., The Rice cultivation was not only an economic activity but a way of Life. The varieties of Rice passed down generations are called Traditional, Indigenous or Heirloom Rice Varieties of Sri Lanka.
Once, renowned as the granary of the east: offered more than 2000 indigenous rice varieties to the rest of the world. Rice cultivation in Sri Lanka used to be sacred and well thought out; the methods of production and the sanctity associated with the process of production made it a truly sustainable process.
But with the European Occupation during the 16th and 18th centuries more emphasis was given to plantation crops until the 20th century when once again it was given attention. However with the increase in population, the H series of rice verities were introduced in the 1950s along with the use of chemical fertilizer to increase Harvest, as a result the average yield of rice increased from 0.65 mt/ha to 1.73 mt/ha in 1950!
In this process,many of the traditional varieties of Sri Lankan rice known to contain higher amounts of Glutamic acid, higher concentrations of vitamins, richer in fiber, a lower Glycemic index and what was known to have nurtured a prosperous society were lost to the Island Nation
By the 1980s, 90% of the farm land was cultivating the so-called semi-dwarf newly improved rice verities, Currently 95% of the rice produced in Sri Lankan are of Hybrid Varieties which are harvested using chemicals, non-organic fertilizer and pesticides, which is a requirement for larger harvests hence the lower price. But with the current trend of global awareness of the benefits of eating Organic food and the dangers of using chemical fertilizer and pesticides…traditional Rice is gradually making a come-back, and rightly so… considering the longevity and the fitness of pr-colonial generations.
Its translated name implies, fragrant. It is a white rice with an exquisite aroma. The rice is well known to promote fair and glowing skin; improve the functioning of the excretory system; improve vocal clarity; enhance male sexual potency and it is said to help control diabetes. It is also said to support a balanced growth of body
Its special milky taste makes it an ideal choice for festive occasions and ceremonies. Suwandel's nutrient composition consists of 90% carbohydrate, 7% crude protein, 0.7% crude fat, and 0.1% crude fibre. Suwandel is also known to contain higher amounts of glutamic acid and higher concentrations of vitamins than other more common rice varieties.
Suwandel is an heirloom variety cultivated organically with traditional rainfed methods in the southern lowlands of Sri Lanka. Because of this, cultivation takes longer than with other varieties of rice, usually 5–6 months until harvest. Heirloom rice cultivation in Sri Lanka is a sacred and well thought out process.
Literally means dark, fine grain, it is a highly nutritious red rice that is considered to have medicinal properties, perfect for daily consumption and is particularly recommended for lactating mothers...It is said to enhance physical strength, Its high fibre content helps regulate bowel movement. It is not known whether it is good for diabetes. Porridge made from kaluheenati rice is was recommended for hepatitis patients.
is a reddish-brown rice variety with a unique texture that is low in carbohydrates, and rich in protein and fibre. Ma-Wee is also proven to have 25% to 30% lower Glycemic Index (GI) in comparison to other common rice varieties. It has a nutrient makeup of 84.5% carbohydrates, 9.4% protein, 3.6% fat and 1.1% fibre.
Ma Wee was loved by the queens who believed it helped maintain a trim, shapely figure.It is said to provide relief for burning sensation and cool the body. Ma-Wee rice consumed together with meat can reduce alcohol intoxication. It was recommended for tuberculosis patients and is an effective remedy for purging. also recommended for diabetes tuberculosis, constipation, hemorrhoids and cardiovascular disease and is known to controls corpulence. Ma-Wee rice is best when soaked prior to boiling. One traditional dish calls for the rice cooked with chopped spring onion and leeks, and served with bottle gourd sautéed in spices and coconut milk.
Ma Wee is also revered for its historical importance in religious ceremonies. According to folklore Ma Wee has been placed in caskets of sacred relics and the pinnacle (kotha) of dagabas.
The word ‘Pachchaperumal’ means The Lord ‘Buddha’s colour’ and has been considered divine rice in traditional Sinhalese culture. It was often used in alms giving’s. This is a wholesome red rice variety which when cooked takes on a deep rich burgundy colour. Rich in nutrients and in proteins, and is an excellent choice for your every day meal.
Pachchaperumal is known to be a perfect diet for those with diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
It is a delectable and nutritious red rice variety which is rich in proteins and fibre.It has a pleasant taste.It is said to improve bladder functioning, enhance male sexual potency and help evade Impotency
A delicious red rice that provides relief to those suffering from cirrhosis. Porridge and soup made with rathdel can help fight against viral fever. It is recommended for rashes caused by mental stress and provides relief for ailments in the urinary system. It also helps flush toxic excretory matter and cools the body. Roasted and ground rathdel raw rice tempered with ghee can be an effective remedy for purging. It is proven for preventing the formation of stones in the bladder and gall bladder. Porridge made out of rathdel rice, sarana (Boerhavia diffusa), sugar, raisins and fresh cow’s milk is suitable for those suffering from tuberculosis and lung ailments
is another traditional red rice variety that is highly recommended in Ayurvedic treatment to strengthen the immune system.
this is a red rice variety said to helps control diabetes and provides relief for burning sensations and cools the body. It is thought to relieve ailments caused by biological imbalances; improves physical strength and an effective remedy for purging, blood vomiting and bleeding disorders.
Many tests have been done now in Sri Lanka to prove the above and the following Nutrients have been found in all traditional Rice Varieties of Sri Lankan Rice
1. Selenium - a cup of provides 27.3% of the DV for selenium,an important trace mineral known to drastically reduce certain forms of cancer, as well as heart disease, inflammatory conditions and rheumatoid arthritis. Other foods rich in with Selenium are Brazil Nuts, Sunflower Seed, tuna, halibut, sardines, flounder, salmon, Meat (Beef, liver, lamb, pork), wheat germ, barley, oats
2. Manganese - Just one cup will provide with 88.0% of the daily value for four the nervous and reproductive systems. It also acts as a co-factor for more than 300 enzymes, including enzymes involved in the body's use of glucose and insulin secretion. Other foods rich with Manganese are Cocoa Powder and Dark Chocolate, Flax, Sesame Seeds, and Sesame Butter, Mussels, Oysters, and Clams
3. Naturally Occurring Oils - These heart-healthy oils reduces LDL forms of cholesterol. Foods Known to have similar nutrition are Corn, olives, Avocado, coconut, palm
4. phytochemicals - Studies show that six servings weekly can lower the creation of arterial plaque build-up and reduce chances of developing heart disease and high cholesterol. Simply because it contains disease-fighting phytochemicals.. Other foods of such nutrition are oats, barley, quinoa, sorghum, spelt, rye, corn
5. Antioxidant - blueberries and green tea are not the only foods High with Antioxidants. The Study conducted by the Industrial Technology Institute (ITI) (No.10715TG6) of Sri Lanka Proves that Traditional rice have in fact a Higher Antioxidant Properties
6. Fiber - Just one a cup provides 14.0% of the daily value for fiber. Because of its fiber-richness and ability to keep healthy bowel function, the rice will “keeps things moving” in a way that promotes weight-loss and metabolic function. After one bowl of our rice, People feel more full despite eating a smaller amount of food. Similar foods are Corn, flax seeds, wheat, beans, figs, avocados, papaya
7. Low glycemic index - Unlike white rice/white bread, These traditional Verities can help keep blood sugar stabilized as it releases sugars slowly and in a sustained fashion. new research shows that individuals who eat at least two servings of this brown rice weekly can reduce their chances of developing diabetes 2 by up to 11 percent. Green Peas, sweet corn, carrots, Broccoli, cauliflower, tomatoes also have a similar effect
8. Phosphorus - an essential nutrient required for proper cell functioning, regulation of calcium, strong bones and teeth, and for making ATP (adenosine triphosphate) a molecule which provides energy to our cells. A deficiency in phosphorus can lead to lowered appetite, anemia, muscle pain, improper bone formation (rickets), numbness, and a weakened immune system. Foods Similarly rich with phosphorus are oats, cheese, sesame seeds
9. Iron - It is a part of proteins and enzymes found throughout our body, including hemoglobin and myoglobin, both of which help carry oxygen in the blood. Iron is an important component of the muscles. You could substitute Traditional Rice for Red meat, Egg yolks, Dark, leafy greens (spinach, collards), Dried fruit (prunes, raisins), Mollusks (oysters, clams, scallops)
10. Vitamin B6 - Promotes a healthy central nervous and immune system. Aids in normal cellular growth and healthy skin. Helps to turn food into energy. Other examples are wheat germ, organ meats, chicken, eggs, fish, brewer's yeast, carrots, peas, spinach, sunflower seeds, and walnuts.
12. Calories - basic unit of energy found in all foods and are necessary to maintain the body's vital functions Other Examples are Junk Food, fried food, Soybean, Peanut, Palm, Olive, Lard, Tallow, Fish Oil
13. Vitamin B1 - Healthy heart & nervous system, optimizes metabolism & brain function. Aids in circulation, blood formation, growth, muscle tone, energy and learning. May be helpful protecting against Alzheimer's disease oats and yeast.Can be Substituted for Vegetables, legumes, seeds and nuts. Poultry, fish and liver.
14. Vitamin B3 - Healthy nervous system, skin, tongue, and digestive system. Aids in better blood circulation and energy. Lowers the bad LDL cholesterol levels and increases the good HDL
17. lignans - lowers cancer risk by preventing pre-cancerous cellular changes, as well as slow down the progression and movement of cancer cells, reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, lower LDL cholesterol levels. (other examples are Flaxseed, sesame and pumpkin seeds, and rye)
18. Amylose and Amylopectin content - provides a high fiber source with a low glycemic index. The more amylose present, the lower the glycemic index. Diabetics may benefit from a diet high in amylose because of the slower insulin response, which prevents quick spikes in glucose levels. Research is being conducted on the benefits of a high amylose diet in the prevention of colon cancer and heart disease. so far other foods similarly high with Amylose are Potatoes and barley
19. Potassium - essential nutrient used to maintain fluid and electrolyte balance in the body. A deficiency in potassium causes fatigue, irritability, and hypertension. Dried Apricots, white beans, bananas, fish, yougurt are some other known foods high in Potassium
20. Gamma Oryzanol - convinces cells to burn sugar in the bloodstream so it doesn’t get deposited as fat in the hips or stomach areas. lowers LDL cholesterol in individuals, reduces hyperlipidemia, triglycerides, increases testosterone levels, stimulate the release of endorphins (pain-relieving substances made in the body), and promote the growth of lean muscle tissue, increasing insulin sensitivity in diabetics. bran wheat and herbs are the only other two known foods with such richness
21. Starch (amylum) - 54 g in a cup of Traditional rice....Of course rice is most common form of carbohydrate, good source of energy and the main source of a range of nutrients in our diet.potatoes, bread, cereals and pasta are the other famously known food items.
22. protein - Needed for bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and blood. They are also building blocks for enzymes, hormones, and vitamins. Although some think Rice is less in Protein, considering one cup of milk contains only 8 g of protein, Traditional rice is certainly a better option. Other known foods with similar richness are Milk, meat, poultry, fish, eggs, nuts
Rice has a sacred association amongst the Buddhist, Hindu, and Muslim populations alike. It is said that rice cooked with coconut milk was the first offering to Buddha, and to this day the dish is a staple of Sri Lankan culture during sacred festivals and important events. It is also said that rice cooked in ghee or clarified butter was the favourite food of Muhammad.
In a pioneering effort, traditional rice is now branded and exported in an attempt to make it an international brand like some of the tea brands.
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Oryza is a genus of plants in the bamboo subfamily within the grass family . The genus includes the major food crop rice species Oryza sativa and Oryza glaberrima. Members of the genus grow as tall, wetland grasses, growing to 1–2 m tall; the genus includes both annual and perennial species.
Oryza is situated within the tribe Oryzeae, which is characterized morphologically by its single-flowered spikelets whose glumes are almost completely suppressed. In Oryza, two sterile lemma simulate glumes. The tribe Oryzeae is within the subfamily Bambusoideae, a group of Poaceae tribes with certain features of internal leaf anatomy in common. The most distinctive leaf characteristics of this subfamily are the arm cells and fusoid cells found in their leaves.
One species, Asian rice (O. sativa), provides 20% of global grain and is a food crop of major global importance. The species are divided into two subgroups within the genus.
Over 300 names have been proposed for species, subspecies, and other infraspecific taxa within the genus. Published sources disagree as to how many of these should be recognized as distinct species. The following follows the World Checklist maintained by Kew Garden in London.
- Oryza australiensis - Australia
- Oryza barthii - tropical Africa
- Oryza brachyantha - tropical Africa
- Oryza coarctata - India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Myanmar
- Oryza eichingeri - tropical Africa, Sri Lanka
- Oryza glaberrima - tropical Africa
- Oryza grandiglumis - Brazil, Venezuela, Fr Guiana, Colombia, Peru, Bolivia
- Oryza latifolia - Latin America + West Indies from Sinaloa + Cuba to Argentina
- Oryza longiglumis - New Guinea
- Oryza longistaminata - Madagascar, tropical + southern Africa
- Oryza meyeriana - China, Indian Subcontinent, Southeast Asia
- Oryza minuta - Himalayas, Southeast Asia, New Guinea, Northern Territory of Australia
- Oryza neocaledonica - New Caldeonia
- Oryza officinalis - China, Indian Subcontinent, Southeast Asia, New Guinea, Australia
- Oryza punctata - Madagascar, tropical + southern Africa
- Oryza ridleyi - Southeast Asia, New Guinea
- Oryza rufipogon - brownbeard or red rice - China, Indian Subcontinent, Southeast Asia, New Guinea, Australia
- Oryza sativa - Asian rice - China; naturalized many places
- Oryza schlechteri - New Guinea
- formerly included
- Kellogg, Elizabeth A. (30 January 2009). "The Evolutionary History of Ehrhartoideae, Oryzeae, and Oryza". Rice 2: 1–14. doi:10.1007/s12284-009-9022-2. Retrieved 6 July 2013.
- lectotype designated by Duistermaat, Blumea 32: 174 (1987)
- Kew World Checklist of Selected Plant Families
- Linnaeus, Carl von. 1753. Species Plantarum 1: 333. in Latin
- Tropicos, Oryza L.
- Flora of China Vol. 22 Page 182 稻属 dao shu Oryza Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 1: 333. 1753.
- Heywood, V.H. Flowering Plants of the World 1993 Oxford University Press
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