Job's tears

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Job's tears

Job's Tears (Coix lacryma-jobi), Coixseed, adlay, or adlai, is a tall grain-bearing tropical plant of the family Poaceae (grass family) native to East Asia and peninsular Malaysia but elsewhere cultivated in gardens as an annual. It has been naturalised in the southern United States and the New World tropics. Job's Tears is also commonly, but misleadingly sold as Chinese pearl barley in Asian supermarkets, despite the fact that C. lacryma-jobi are not of the same genus as barley (Hordeum vulgare).

Two varieties of the species are grown. Coix lacryma-jobi var. lacryma-jobi has hard shelled pseudocarps which are very hard, pearly white, oval structures used as beads for making rosaries, necklaces, and other objects. Coix lacryma-jobi var. ma-yuen is harvested as a cereal crop and is used medicinally in parts of Asia.

Etymology

Job was a Biblical character who was an example of perseverance in suffering.


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