Rice has been feeding people for more than 10,000 years! Even today it is the grain of choice for more than 3 billion people. The origins of domesticated rice are thought to stem from China in the Pearl River valley region. There is still much debate on exactly where rice came from with many theories and evidence pointing to different countries throughout Asia. The spread of rice happened quickly with evidence suggesting that the whole Asian subcontinent was growing the grain at least from 5,000 BC. Rice has stood the test of time being the most popular of all the world grains.
Oryza sativa is a grass and can be split into two main categories - japonica and indica indicating whether it is a short grain (japonica) or a long grain (indica). There are many different varieties and colours to rice ranging from white, brown, black, purple and red. Japonica is a temperate rice plant that is grown in dry fields in upland areas while indica varieties are grown, submerged in water, in lowland tropical areas. Rice classification has changed since the 1980's as science moves toward a more solid theory of its origins.