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The Lao Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) jointly collected rice germplasm in the Lao PDR between 1995 and 2000. Among the 13192 samples collected, there are 3169 distinct variety names. Sometimes, the same variety is called by different names by different ethnic groups; furthermore clearly different varieties have the same name. Lao farmers assign names to traditional varieties that relate to the production ecosystem, endosperm type, and maturity. The name also often indicates a variety's particular morphological features or other unique characteristics. Varieties are also named for plants, flowers, fruits and animals. Resistance to or tolerance for commonly occurring stress factors like drought, floods, lodging, birds, weeds and adaptation to soils are also reflected in some rice variety names. Use of this information can help select germplasm for rice improvement.