views updated

Oryza (rice; family Gramineae) A genus of grasses that are cultivated for their grains. Rice is the most important cereal crop in the world in terms of the number of people depending upon it. There are 2 principal types: lowland (grown in fields inundated with water); and upland (grown on dry land). The unhusked grain is known as paddy. O. sativa is cultivated rice. There are 19 species, native to tropical Asia.