Rice is a member of the genus Oryza, which has a history extending back into the Miocene. Oryza is in turn a member of the tribe Oryzeae, which along with the tribe Ehrharteae is included in the subfamily Ehrhartoideae. This paper reviews current knowledge of the genus, tribe and subfamily, and places rice in the larger evolutionary context of the entire grass family. The morphological characteristics of rice are an amalgam of characters that have originated at different times in its long evolutionary history. Increasingly, genomic characteristics are also being placed in a broad evolutionary context and it is becoming possible see which are characteristic of all grasses and which are more restricted to the genus Oryza or even to rice itself.
Kellogg, Elizabeth, "The Evolutionary History of Ehrhartoideae, Oryzeae, and Oryza" (2009). Biology Department Faculty Works. 60.