Rice is the seed of the monocot plants Oryza sativa (Asian rice) or Oryza glaberrima (African rice). As a cereal grain, it is the most widely consumed staple food for a large part of the world's human population, especially in Asia. It is the grain with the second-highest worldwide production, after corn, according to data for 2010. Since a large portion of maize crops are grown for purposes other than human consumption, rice is the most important grain with regard to human nutrition and caloric intake, providing more than one fifth of the calories consumed worldwide by humans. Chinese legends attribute the domestication of rice to Shennong, the legendary Emperor of China and inventor of Chinese agriculture. Genetic evidence has shown that rice originates from a single domestication 8,200â13,500 years ago in the Pearl River valley region of China. Rice is normally grown as an annual plant, although in tropical areas it can survive as a perennial and can produce a ratoon crop for up to 30 years.
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Last date updated on July, 2014