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Zizania aquatica - L.

Common Name Wild Rice, Annual wildrice
Family Poaceae or Gramineae
USDA hardiness 5-9
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Shallow waters of rivers and lakes, preferring a slow moving current[20, 43].
Range Eastern N. America - New Brunswick to Manitoba, south to Florida and Texas.
Edibility Rating    (5 of 5)
Other Uses    (0 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (0 of 5)
Care (info)
Fully Hardy Water Plants Full sun
Zizania aquatica Wild Rice, Annual wildrice

Zizania aquatica Wild Rice, Annual wildrice


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Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Zizania aquatica is a ANNUAL growing to 3.5 m (11ft) by 0.2 m (0ft 8in) at a fast rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 6. It is in flower from July to September, and the seeds ripen from September to October. The species is monoecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but both sexes can be found on the same plant) and is pollinated by Wind.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It can grow in water.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Plant Habitats


Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Seed  Stem
Edible Uses:

Seed - cooked[257]. It can be used as a cereal. A staple food of the native North American Indians[95, 159], the long black delicious grain is eaten as an expensive gourmet meal[183]. It is used in the same ways that rice is used and is sometimes added to rice dishes to impart its subtle flavour. The seed can also be ground into a meal and used in making bread, thickening soups etc[183]. It is a very rich source of riboflavin and is also rich in niacin[160]. The base of the culms is used as a vegetable[74].

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

None known

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses

None known

Special Uses

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Easily grown in water up to 60cm deep, it tolerates water up to 1 metre deep though it prefers growing in water 10 - 20cm deep[136]. It dislikes stagnant water[20]. A very ornamental plant[1], it grows, flowers and fruits well in the lake and lily pond at Kew[136]. Plants can self-sow in Britain, but the seed tends to germinate too late to mature a fresh crop of seed in this country, so the plant gradually dies out[136]. It would possibly maintain itself in areas such as the Isle of Wight, Cambridgeshire and Norfolk[136]. It is a very hardy plant, the seed survives being frozen in ice[136]. Plants grown at a 30cm square spacing can produce 20 or more flowering shoots[136]. Often collected from the wild, this plant is now being cultivated commercially for its edible seed[183]. It is considered a gourmet's delicacy and is sold in many parts of the world, usually in health food shops and usually at a very high price[136]. Plants require protection from wild fowl otherwise they will devour the young growth[136]. Plants are occasionally sown by lakes and rivers in Europe to attract wild fowl[50].

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

Temperature Converter

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Plant Propagation

Seed - it must not be allowed to dry out or it will quickly lose its viability, usually within 4 weeks[136]. Store collected seed in jars of water in a cool place such as the salad compartment of a fridge. Sow the seed in spring. Immerse the pots so that they are covered by about 5cm of water. It is best to sow 2 seeds per 7cm pot in a greenhouse in order to get early germination and a better chance of a crop[136]. Pot on as required and plant out about 30cm square in May, by which time the plants should be 20 - 30cm tall[136]. Larger quantities can be sown in shallow boxes and plunged into the pond etc in May.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Zizania latifoliaManchurian Wild RicePerennial3.5 0-0  LMHSNWa412

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


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Botanical References


Links / References

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Readers comment

amy lightfoot   Mon Nov 21 2005

interesting website. We are interested in obtaining seed to grow wild rice in Europe. WIld rice, not gene modified. We believe we have the perfect place to do it and it is only for our own personal use, not for sale, no big volume.

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Subject : Zizania aquatica  
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