Rice field

Rice Plant, Production, Cultivation and Uses


Rice plant (Oryza sativa) is one of the most widely grown cereal crops in the tropical and subtropical regions of the world. Currently, rice and wheat are the only two cereal crops competing for prime places.


Rice is one of the world’s most important food crops more than half of the people in the world eat this grain as the main part of their meals, mostly rice is very popular in Asia, Africa and most part of the world.


Rice is a cereal grain like other cereal grains, including wheat, corn, and oats, rice plant to the grass family.


But unlike other grains, rice grows best in shallow water. Rice thrives in many tropical areas because of its warm, wet climate.


Farmers usually flood rice fields to supply the growing plants with moisture and to kill weeds and other pests. China and India are the worlds leading rice-producing countries. Together they produce more than half of the world’s yearly rice harvest.


Rice grains

The Rice Plant

Young rice plants have a bright green color. As the grain ripens, these plants turn golden yellow. The grain becomes fully ripe from 110 to 180 days after planting depending on the variety.




The main parts of mature rice plants are the


  • Roots


  • Stems


  • Leaves


  • Head


 A system of slender roots supports the plant’s hollow stems. Each stem has at least five or six joints from which the long, narrow leaves grow the head, also known as the panicle grows from the top joints.


The panicle holds the kernels. That is the seed or grain of the rice plants each panicle carries from 60 to 150 kernels.

flourishing rice field

Rice plant

Growth and the Production of Rice Plant


A new rice plant develops from the embryo inside the seed. The seed begins to sprout a few days after it is exposed to warm temperature and plentiful moisture.


The first tiller (short) appears 5 to 10 days after planting. Some rice plants may send out as many as 50 tillers, but most grow far fewer more leaves appear as tillers grow taller. The panicle grows from the top of the tiller. 


Older varieties of rice grow from 48 to 72 inches (120 to 180 centimeters) tall. But some newer varieties stand from 31 to 39 inches (80 to 100 centimeters) high.


Rice plants begin to develop flowering parts 6 to 10 weeks after planting. The panicle forms inside the sheath a tube-like, leafy covering that surrounds the stem.


After about 4 weeks, the panicle emerges from the sheath and bears flowers.


Pollination must occur for grains of rice to develop. Rice can pollinate itself because each flower has both male and female reproduction parts the flowers give rise to mature grains of rice 4 to 6 weeks after pollination.

flourishing field

Rice plant

Uses of Rice Plant


  • Food, nearly all the rice produced in the world provides food for people. Rice supplies about half the calories in the daily diets of many people in Asia and around the world.


  • Excellent source of carbohydrates.


  • If eaten in large amounts rice becomes an important source of protein.


  • Rice also has small amounts of B vitamins, niacin, riboflavin, and thiamin and the minerals iron, phosphorus, potassium, and sodium. Rice has very little fat and is easy to digest.


  • Brown rice is more nutritious than white rice because it is less chewing than white rice and takes about half as long to cook.


  • White rice is enriched with vitamins and minerals to replace the nutrients lost in removing the bran.


  • In areas where rice is used as stable food, enrichment is necessary to prevent beriberi.


  • Rice can be used in the manufacturing of beer. Breweries use broken rice kernel to make mash, an important ingredient in beer.
Fried rice

Rice is eating around the world in various form


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How Rice Plant is grown

The method of growing rice may, depending on the labor supply and the level of mechanization.


In Southeast Asia, labor is plentiful, and most work is done by hand.


Some farmers have oxen or water buffaloes for pulling plows. In the United States and other developed economies, farmers use mechanized farming.


Most rice grows in areas of the world with a yearly rainfall of at least 40 inches (100 centimeters). But farmers can cultivate rice in drier regions by irrigating the land.

Rice plant after transplanting

Rice plant after transplanting in the field


Rice needs an average temperature of at least 70 0F (210C) Not less than 180C best ranges is 180C to 300Cthroughout its growing season. It grows best in heavy, slightly acid soils that contain fine particles of clay and the soil can hold water well.




Predominantly lowland crop, to 1000m above sea level


For practical purposes, rice is photoperiodic neutral



Soil requirement of rice depends on the type of rice to be grown namely


  1. Upland rice: fertile, loose loam soil
  2. Swam rice: fertile, compact and not easily leachable heavy soils


Soil tillage

  • Upland rice


This is the type of rice grown in upland high rainfall area. Plowing is followed  by harrowing


  • Swamp rice


This is the type of rice which could be successfully  cultivated  on flooded  lands e.g river flood plains, irrigated  lowland, or freshwater mangrove swamps


READ: Yam tubers, Cultivation, production and uses.

Ground preparation


Rice grows best in a field covered with shallow water.


They work the soil into a soft mud to make it easier to plow and to bury weeds. The practice of working flooded land is called puddling.



In developing countries, farmers sometimes plant rice seeds directly into the ground. But more farmers sow seeds thickly in small seedbeds and transplant the seedling to a flooded filed after several weeks.


This method reduced the length of time rice occupies the main field by about 15 to 20 days. This is important in areas where several crops are grown on the same land each year. Transplanting seedlings also permits better weed control. Fewer weeds can grow in the thickly sown seedbeds.


Rice is planted with seeds (the grains) at the rate of three seeds per hole at a spacing of about 0.2 x 0.2m for upland rice.


For swamp rice, the normal practices are to raise the seedlings in a nursery and transplanting to the prepared land at four to five-leaf stage after two weeks of transplanting the rice.


The rice is flooded permanently with about 5cm of water. As the plants grow taller, the water level is gradually raised to about 10cm to 15cm. this level of water is maintained.




Rice, depending on variety, flowers three and half to four months after planting while it matures in four to six and a half months.

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