The morphology of rice is divided into the vegetative phases (including germination, seedling, and tillering stages) and the reproductive phases (including panicle initiation and heading stages).


The rice grain, commonly called a seed, consists of the true fruit or brown rice (caryopsis) and the hull, which encloses the brown rice. Brown rice consists mainly of the embryo and endosperm. The surface contains several thin layers of differentiated Tissues that enclose the embryo and endosperm.The palea, lemmas, and rachilla constitute the hull of indica rices. In japonica rices, however the hull usually includes rudimentary glumes and perhaps a portion of the pedicel. A single grain weighs about 10-45 mg at 0% moisture content. Grain length, width, and thickness vary widely among varieties. Hull weight averages about 20% of total grain weight.


Germination and seedling development start when seed dormancy has been broken and the seed absorbs adequate water and is exposed to a temperature ranging from about 10 to 40° C. Under aerated conditions the seminal root is the first to emerge through the coleorhiza from the embryo, and this is followed by the coleoptile. Under

anaerobic conditions, however, the coleoptile is the first to emerge, with the roots developing when the coleoptile has reached the aerated regions of the environment. After the coleoptile emerges it splits and the primary leaf develops.

Tillering plants:

Each stem of rice is made up of a series of nodes and internodes. The internodes generally increase from the lower to upper part of the stem. Each upper node bears a leaf and a bud, which can grow into a tiller. The number of nodes varies from 13 to 16 with only the upper 4 or 5 separated by long internodes. The leaf blade is attached at the node by the leaf sheath, which encircles the stem. Where the leaf blade and the leaf sheath meet is a pair of clawlike appendages,

the auricle, which encircle the stem. Coarse hairs cover the surface of the auricle. Immediately above the auricle is a thin, upright membrane called the ligule. The tillering stage starts as soon as the seedling is self supporting and generally finishes at panicle initiation. Tillering usually begins with the emergence of the first tiller when seedlings have five leaves. This first tiller develops between the main stem and the second leaf from the base of the plant. Subsequently when the 6th leaf emerges the second tiller develops between the main stem and the 3d leaf from the base.

The tillers remain attached to the plant, at later stages they are independent because they produce their own roots. Varieties and races of rice differ in tillering ability. Numerous environmental factors also affect tillering including spacing, light, nutrient supply, and cultural practices.

The rice root system consists of two major types: crown roots (including mat roots) and nodal roots. In fact both these roots develop from nodes, but crown roots develop from nodes below the soil surface. Roots that develop from nodes above the soil surface usually are referred to as nodal roots. Nodal roots are often found in rice cultivars growing at water depths above 80 cm.

Panicle and spikelets:

The major structures of the panicle are the base, axis, primary and secondary branches, pedicel, rudimentary glumes, and the spikelets. The panicle axis extends from the panicle base to the apex; it has 8-10 nodes at 2- to 4-cm intervals from which primary branches develop. Secondary branches develop from the primary branches. Pedicels develop from the nodes of the primary and secondary branches; the spikelets are positioned above them. Since rice has only one fully developed floret (flower) per spikelet, these terms are often used interchangeably. The flower is enclosed in the lemma and palea, which may be either awned or awnless. The flower consists of the pistil and stamens, and the components of the pistil are the stigmas, styles, and ovary.


The growth duration of the rice plant is 3-6 months, depending on the variety and the environment under which it is grown. It is convenient to regard the life history of rice in terms of three growth phases: vegetative, reproductive, and ripening. Vegetative phase is characterized by active tillering, gradual increase in plant height, and leaf emergence at regular intervals. Reproductive phaseis characterized by culm elongation (which increases plant height), decline in tiller number, emergence of the flag leaf (the last leaf), booting, heading, and flowering of the spikelets. Ripening Phase follows fertilization, and may be subdivided into milky, dough, yellow-ripe, and maturity stages.