chapter  II
37 Pages


Rice is sufficiently well known, constitutes the chief material of the food of the civilized people of the old world inhabiting the countries within the tropics, and of the improved tribes of the Indian islands with the rest. The improved husbandry which is implied in the culture of marsh rice appears to be traced to one origin, the more common and humbler operations of agriculture. There are two distinct descriptions of rice cultivated throughout the Indian islands, one which grows without the help of immersion in water, and another for which that immersion is indispensably requisite. The fecundity of rice depends so much upon circumstances, that it is not possible to state a general result. A great variety of aroid plants exists in the Archipelago. The one chiefly cultivated is the Arum esculentum of Linnaeus. The husbandry of this plant is practised in upland soils, and is chiefly pursued where the cereal gramina are scarce.