Structure of a Rice Plant

Rice belongs to the family of cereals, just like oats, corn, millet, wheat, barley, and similar grains. Rice looks much like these grains, but its unique adaption is that it can be cultivated in floodplains where most grains would perish. This means it can be grown in many regions where no other grain can be cultivated.

Rice is an annual plant which means its complete growth cycle and harvest happen within a year. The rice plant has a round, hollow stem with flat leaves. Each stem will grow rice grains. More specifically, here are the main components of a rice plant:


1. Roots

The roots of a rice plant grow underground and support the structure of the plant, as well as draw water and nutrients into the other parts of the plant. The roots consist of both root hair and hairless roots.


2. Embryonic Roots

Rice plants typically have two types of roots during their growth cycle: embryonic roots and adventitious roots. The embryonic root is the first root a rice plant has. They grow out of the seed when it germinates. These roots live for a short time before they make way for the second root, the adventitious roots.


3. Adventitious Roots

These are the secondary roots and are named adventitious because of their irregular growth pattern. These roots can grow deep into the soil and can also spread in the shallow upper layers of soil (especially when in flooding conditions).


4. Stem

The stem is also known as the culm, and it plays a fundamental role in giving structural support for the leaves and reproductive parts. The stem consists of a series of nodes and internodes that occur sporadically. Each node bears a bud and leaf, while internodes are hollow. Depending on the species, rice plants can grow to a height of 50-160 cm above the ground.


5. Inflorescence

The rice plant has small spikes, known as the inflorescence. The inflorescences contain three flowers, where one is fertile, and the other two are sterile.


6. Leaves

The leaves on a rice plant serve the purpose of respiration and photosynthesis. The leaves contain chlorophyll and help convert sunlight into chemical energy for the plant. The leaf sheath attaches the leaf to the stem of the plant.


7. Reproductive Organs

Unlike the leaves, stem, and roots, reproductive organs on rice plants are not always recognizable to most people. These organs include the panicle, which is the neck of the flower cluster that is usually on the uppermost side of a node. Then there is the spikelet, inside which are all the reproductive parts that will eventually turn into the grain.


Polished Rice vs Unpolished Rice

Unpolished rice is simply rice that still has its outer germ and bran intact. When rice is polished, the outer shell is removed, leaving just the inner grain. Unpolished rice is typically brown in colour (though it can be other colours depending on the soil in which it’s grown). Polished rice is typically white and is often called white rice.

Unpolished rice, or whole-grain rice, is considered more nutritious because the germ and bran contain vital nutrients like protein, fibre, vitamin E and B vitamins.