|Seeds of Oryza glaberrima|
|The range of wild Oryza glaberrima. The plant is cultivated outside its wild range.|
Oryza glaberrima, commonly known as African rice, is one of the two domesticated rice species. It was first domesticated and grown in West Africa around 3,000 years ago. It is now rarely sold in West African markets, having been replaced by Asian strains.
While it has been partly replaced by higher-yielding Asian rice, and the number of varieties grown is declining, it persists, making up an estimated 20% of rice grown in West Africa. By comparison to Asian rice, it is hardy, pest-resistant, low-labour, suited to a variety of African conditions, filling, and has a distinct nutty flavour. It is also grown for cultural reasons; for instance, it is sacred to followers of Awasena (a traditional African religion) among the Jola people, and is a heritage variety in the United States.
Crossbreeding between African and Asian rice is difficult, but there exist some crosses.