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the web of life in southern Africa

Coix lachryma-jobi (Adlay, Job's tears)

Life > eukaryotes > Archaeoplastida > Chloroplastida > Charophyta > Streptophytina > Plantae (land plants) > Tracheophyta (vascular plants) > Euphyllophyta > Lignophyta (woody plants) > Spermatophyta (seed plants) > Angiospermae (flowering plants) > Monocotyledons > Order: Poales > Family: Poaceae

This species has teardrop-like false fruits situated at the base of the spikelet, which besides being used as beads in necklaces, are also used for food. Domestication possibly occurred in the Philippines. It is grown widely in southern Asia and Southeast Asia. It has been introduced to southern Africa where it grows wild (i.e. naturalised) and is also sometimes grown as a crop in rural areas. The grain is eaten whole or ground into flour used for baking or in wine and beer production. It contains at least 50% starch, 14% protein and 6% fat.


  • The grain is boiled and eaten, in a similar manner to rice.
  • The grain is added to stews and soups.
  • The grain is ground up into flour that is used in baking.
  • Ground up grain is also fermented to produced beer and wine.


  • van Wyk, B.-E. 2005. Food Plants of the World - Identification, Culinary Uses and Nutritional Value. Briza, Pretoria.

  • van Wyk, B.-E. & Gericke, N. 2000. People's Plants. A Guide to Useful Plants of Southern Africa. Briza Publications, Pretoria.