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Genus: Oryza (rice genus)

Life > eukaryotes > Archaeoplastida > Chloroplastida > Charophyta > Streptophytina > Plantae (land plants) > Tracheophyta (vascular plants) > Euphyllophyta > Lignophyta (woody plants) > Spermatophyta (seed plants) > Angiospermae (flowering plants) > Monocotyledons > Order: Poales > Family: Poaceae

There are about 25 species worldwide (tropics and subtropics) of which three are native to southern Africa. Oryza sativa (rice) has been cultivated in southern Africa, but most of the rice eaten in the region is imported.

Species native to southern Africa

List from Plants of Southern Africa - an Online Checklist (SANBI) and Flora of Zimbabwe.

Oryza barthii


Oryza longistaminata

Oryza punctata


Other species, cultivated in southern Africa

From Glen (2002).

Oryza sativa (rice)

Rice was domesticated in Asia at least 7000 years ago. Over 90% of world rice production is in Asia where the monsoon rains favour paddy rice, which needs to grow in wet conditions. Rice is a staple food among many people in southern Africa but is derived almost exclusively from Asian imports and is rarely grown in this region. In Asia, rice is not only used in eating but also used for making alcoholic drinks such as saki in Japan. 


  • Fish, L. 2003. Poaceae. In Germishuizen, G. & Meyer, N.L. (eds), Plants of southern Africa: an annotated checklist. Strelitzia 14: 1152-1194. National Botanical Institute, Pretoria. 


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