Job's-tears, tall tropical plant of the family Poaceae (grass family), Coix lacrymajobi, native to E Asia and Malaya but elsewhere cultivated in gardens as an annual and naturalized in the S United States and New World tropics. The mature grains are enveloped by very hard, pearly white, oval structures which are used as beads for making rosaries, necklaces, and other objects. Some varieties are harvested for cereal food and are used medicinally in parts of Asia. Job's-tears is classified in the division Magnoliophyta, class Liliopsida, order Cyperales, family Poaceae.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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