Back in 2016, Prof Moto and Dr Nagai had an ongoing project involving nailing the genetic code for rhizome formation in rice. Their philosophy was that if they could transfer rhizome formation into a high-yielding modern cultivar of Oryza sativa or Oryza glaberrima, the cultivation of rice would have been changed for good. They did in fact manage to isolate genes involved in the coding for rhizomes (the rhizome is “just” a horizontal stem) but forcing cultivated rice to form rhizomes is not a straightforward task.
I was thrilled by the plant since it reminded me of some of the native plants that we find in swamps around the world; common reed is just one of them. At that time, Dennis Konnerup and I also briefly checked if there was any convective flow of gases in Oryza longistaminata as is the case in e.g., species of Phragmites and Typha. It was not the case…
Now, Song and
Tong are both using Oryza longistaminata as model plant and I was happy to see
that it is now flowering for the first time in the six years that I have kept
it in culture up in the glasshouse. I am not so sure whether the flowers will
also result in viable seeds. We will see.
Flowers of Oryza longistaminata - the stamens are extremely long in this species, hence the name!