The rice plant

The rice plant, species Oryza Sativa, is from the family Gramineae (Grass Family).

The plant has many different variations, but is generally a short living plant, with an average life span of 3-7 months, depending on the climate and the variety. It is not a water plant but substantial amounts of water are required for the planting. Cultivated species of rice are considered to be semi-aquatic annuals. The height of the plant can range from 0.4m to over 5m in some floating rices.

When rice is harvested it is called 'Paddy'. A paddy is a complete seed of rice and one grain of paddy contains one rice kernel. Each paddy has many layers, the outermost layer is the husk. The husk consists of 2 interlocked half shells. Each protects one half of the paddy. The husk is composed of silica and cellulose.

The next layers are bran layers. Each layer is a very thin film of bran. Bran is mainly composed of fibre, Vitamin B complexes, protein and fat, it is the most nutritious part. At the base of each grain is an embryo, which will grow into a new plant if planted.

The inner part of the grain is the rice kernel, which is composed of mainly starch. Rice starch is composed of mainly 2 types of starches, amylose and amylopectin. The exact mixture of these determines the cooking texture of the rice.