The present study evaluated waterlogging tolerance, root porosity and radial O2 loss (ROL) from the adventitious roots, of seven upland, three paddy, and two deep‐water genotypes of rice (Oryza sativa L.). Upland types, with the exception of one genotype, were as tolerant of 30 d soil waterlogging as the paddy and deep‐water types. In all but one of the 12 genotypes, the number of adventitious roots per stem increased for plants grown in waterlogged, compared with drained, soil. When grown in stagnant deoxygenated nutrient solution, genotypic variation was evident for root porosity and rates of ROL, but there was no overall difference between plants from the three cultural types. Adventitious root porosity increased from 20–26 % for plants grown in aerated solution to 29–41 % for plants grown in stagnant solution. Growth in stagnant solution also induced a ‘tight’ barrier to ROL in the basal regions of adventitious roots of five of the seven upland types, all three paddy types, and the two deep‐water types. The enhanced porosity provided a low resistance pathway for O2 movement to the root tip, and the barrier to ROL in basal zones would have further enhanced longitudinal O2 diffusion towards the apex, by diminishing losses to the rhizosphere. The plasticity in root physiology, as described above, presumably contributes to the ability of rice to grow in diverse environments that differ markedly in soil waterlogging, such as drained upland soils as well as waterlogged paddy fields.