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Common Name: Wild Rice
Zizania aquatica is an annual plant that can grow up to 3.50 metres tall.
It is harvested from the wild for local use as a food.
Eastern N. America - New Brunswick to Manitoba, south to Florida and Texas.
Shallow waters of rivers and lakes, preferring a slow moving current[
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[
]. It dislikes stagnant water[
A very ornamental plant[
], it grows, flowers and fruits well in the lake and lily pond at Kew[
]. 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[
]. It would possibly maintain itself in areas such as the Isle of Wight, Cambridgeshire and Norfolk[
]. It is a very hardy plant, the seed survives being frozen in ice[
]. Plants grown at a 30cm square spacing can produce 20 or more flowering shoots[
Often collected from the wild, this plant is now being cultivated commercially for its edible seed[
]. 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[
Plants require protection from wild fowl otherwise they will devour the young growth[
]. Plants are occasionally sown by lakes and rivers in Europe to attract wild fowl[
Seed - cooked[
]. It can be used as a cereal. A staple food of the native North American Indians[
], the long black delicious grain is eaten as an expensive gourmet meal[
]. 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[
]. It is a very rich source of riboflavin and is also rich in niacin[
The base of the culms is used as a vegetable[
Seed - it must not be allowed to dry out or it will quickly lose its viability, usually within 4 weeks[
]. 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[
]. Pot on as required and plant out about 30cm square in May, by which time the plants should be 20 - 30cm tall[
]. Larger quantities can be sown in shallow boxes and plunged into the pond etc in May.