Oryza is a genus from the Poaceae (the grass family) and it includes the major food crop rice. Oryza sativa and Oryza glaberrima are the most well-known cultivated species of rice, however there are also 22 other wild species. Rice is the oldest and most widely cultivated grain and has been grown for food for over 10,000 years, producing over 400 million tonnes each year and providing a quarter of the world’s caloric intake! As it is such a vital source for millions of people around the world, especially in Asia and Africa, the understanding of Oryza plays a crucial role in assuring food security for the future.
Oryza is a genus which is part of the Crop Wild Relatives Project, which aims to set out which crop gene pools are of high importance for food security and use their wild relatives to allow adaptation to environmental change. Hence, digitising the over 1,700 specimens which are housed at Kew Herbarium is essential. Making these specimens available online will help to answer where these species are found, what environments they are able grow in and how we can maximise their use in an effective and sustainable way.
This is where you come in: Help us to transcribe what you see on the labels of these Oryza sheets and aid the conservation of a crucial species, essential to support the growing human population! Thank you and happy transcribing!
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