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"Indian rice" redirects here. The wildflower Fritillaria camschatcensis is sometimes also called "Indian rice" or "wild rice". For the wild rice of India and Bangladesh, see Porteresia. For wild rice related to cultivated forms, see Rice.
Wild rice
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Monocots
(unranked): Commelinids
Order: Poales
Family: Poaceae
Subfamily: Ehrhartoideae[1]
Tribe: Oryzeae[1]
Genus: Zizania

Wild rice (also called Canada rice, Indian rice, and water oats) are four species of grasses forming the genus Zizania, and the grain that can be harvested from them. The grain was historically gathered and eaten in both North America and China. While it is now a delicacy in North America, the grain is eaten less in China,[2]:165 where the plant's stem is used as a vegetable.

Wild rice is not directly related to Asian rice (Oryza sativa), whose wild progenitors are O. rufipogon and O. nivara, although they are close cousins, sharing the tribe Oryzeae. Wild rice grains have a chewy outer sheath with a tender inner grain that has a slightly vegetal taste.[3]

The plants grow in shallow water in small lakes and slow-flowing streams; often, only the flowering head of wild rice rises above the water. The grain is eaten by dabbling ducks and other aquatic wildlife, as well as humans.


Three species of wild rice are native to North America:

One species is native to Asia:

  • Manchurian wild rice (Z. latifolia; incorrect synonym: Z. caduciflora), is a perennial native to China.

Texas wild rice is in danger of extinction due to loss of suitable habitat in its limited range and to pollution. The pollen of Texas wild rice can only travel about 30 inches away from a parent plant. If pollen does not land on a receptive female flower within that distance, no seeds are produced.[4] Manchurian wild rice has almost disappeared from the wild in its native range, but has been accidentally introduced into the wild in New Zealand and is considered an invasive species there.[5]

Use as food[edit]

Harvesting wild rice.

The species most commonly harvested as grain is the annual species Zizania palustris. Native Americans and others harvest wild rice by canoeing into a stand of plants, and bending the ripe grain heads with wooden sticks called knockers, so as to thresh the seeds into the canoe.

The size of the knockers, as well as other details, are prescribed in state and tribal law. By Minnesota statute, knockers must be at most 1 in (2.5 cm) diameter, 30 in (76 cm) long, and 1 lb (450 g) weight.[6] The plants are not beaten with the knockers but require only a gentle brushing to dislodge the mature grain. The Ojibwa people call this plant manoomin, meaning "harvesting berry" (commonly translated "good berry"). Some seeds fall to the muddy bottom and germinate later in the year.

Ojibwa wild rice pouch, cedar bark, American Museum of Natural History

Several Native American cultures, such as the Ojibwa, consider wild rice to be a sacred component in their culture.[7] The rice is harvested with a canoe: one person vans (or "knocks") rice into the canoe with two small poles ("knockers" or "flails") while the other paddles slowly or uses a push pole. For these groups, this harvest is an important cultural (and often economic) event. The Menominee tribe were named Omanoominii by the neighboring Ojibwa after this plant. Many places in Illinois, Indiana, Manitoba, Michigan, Minnesota, Ontario, Saskatchewan, and Wisconsin are named after this plant, including Mahnomen, Minnesota, Menomonie, Wisconsin; many lakes and streams bear the name "Rice", "Wildrice", "Wild Rice", or "Zizania".

Because of its nutritional value and taste, wild rice increased in popularity in the late 20th century, and commercial cultivation began in the U.S. and Canada to supply the increased demand. In 1950, James and Gerald Godward started experimenting with wild rice in a one-acre meadow north of Brainerd, Minnesota. They constructed dikes around the acre, dug ditches for drainage, and put in water controls. In the fall they tilled the soil, and in the spring of 1951 they acquired 50 lb (23 kg) of seed from Wildlife Nurseries Inc. They scattered the seed onto the soil, diked it in, and flooded the paddy. Much to their surprise, since they were told wild rice needs flowing water to grow well, the seeds spouted and produced a crop. They continued to experiment with wild rice throughout the early 1950s and were the first to officially cultivate the previously wild crop.[8]

In the U.S., the main producers are California and Minnesota (where it is the official state grain) and it is mainly cultivated in paddy fields. In Canada, it is usually harvested from natural bodies of water; the largest producer is Saskatchewan. Wild rice is also produced in Hungary and Australia. In Hungary, cultivation started in 1974 on the rice field of Szarvas.[citation needed] The Indian Rice Ltd. was founded in 1990. Now,[when?] Hungarian wild rice growing and processing is managed only by this company. In Australia, production is controlled by Ricewild Pty. Ltd. at Deniliquin in Southern New South Wales.[9]

Manchurian wild rice (Chinese: ; pinyin: ), gathered from the wild, was once an important grain in ancient China.[2]:165 It is now very rare in the wild, and its use as a grain has completely disappeared in China, though it continues to be cultivated for its stems.[2]:165

Wild rice stems before and after peeling.

The swollen crisp white stems of Manchurian wild rice are grown as a vegetable, popular in East and Southeast Asia. The swelling occurs because of infection with the smut fungus Ustilago esculenta.[2]:165 The fungus prevents the plant from flowering, so the crop is propagated asexually, the infection being passed from mother plant to daughter plant. Harvest must be made between about 120 days and 170 days after planting, after the stem begins to swell but before the infection reaches its reproductive stage, when the stem will begin to turn black and eventually disintegrate into fungal spores.

The vegetable is especially common in China, where it is known as gaosun (高笋) or jiaobai (茭白). Other names which may be used in English include coba and water bamboo. Importation of the vegetable to the United States is prohibited in order to protect North American species from the fungus.

Wild rice, cooked
Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy 423 kJ (101 kcal)
21.34 g
Dietary fiber 1.8 g
0.34 g
3.99 g
Vitamin A equiv.
64 μg
Thiamine (B1)
0.052 mg
Riboflavin (B2)
0.087 mg
Niacin (B3)
1.287 mg
Vitamin B6
0.135 mg
Folate (B9)
26 μg
Vitamin C
0 mg
Vitamin E
0.24 mg
3 mg
0.6 mg
32 mg
0.282 mg
82 mg
101 mg
3 mg
1.34 mg
Other constituents
Copper 0.121 mg

Percentages are roughly approximated using US recommendations for adults.
Source: USDA Nutrient Database
Cooked wild rice.

Nutrition and safety[edit]

Typically sold as a dried whole grain, wild rice is high in protein, the amino acid lysine and dietary fiber, and low in fat. Nutritional analysis shows wild rice to be second only to oats (quinoa was third) in protein content per 100 calories.[10] Like true rice, it does not contain gluten. It is also a good source of certain minerals and B vitamins. One cup of cooked wild rice provides 5% or more of the daily value of thiamin, riboflavin, iron, and potassium; 10% or more of the daily value of niacin, b6, folate, magnesium, phosphorus; 15% of zinc; and over 20% of manganese.[11]

Wild rice seeds can be infected by the highly toxic fungus ergot, which is dangerous if eaten. Infected grains have pink or purplish blotches or growths of the fungus, from the size of a seed to several times larger.[12]

Ornamental use[edit]

Wild rice is also grown as an ornamental plant in garden ponds.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Kellogg, Elizabeth A. (30 January 2009). "The Evolutionary History of Ehrhartoideae, Oryzeae, and Oryza". Rice 2: 1–14. doi:10.1007/s12284-009-9022-2. Retrieved 6 July 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c d Simoons, Frederick J. (1991). Food in China: a cultural and historical inquiry. CRC Press. p. 559. ISBN 978-0-8493-8804-0. 
  3. ^ Reinagel, Monica (19 April 1010). "What Type of Rice is Healthiest?". Retrieved 28 January 2010. 
  4. ^ Pollination Habits of Endangered Rice Revealed to Help Preservation Newswise, Retrieved on July 15, 2008.
  5. ^ NIWA: Stopping the freshwater wild rice invader
  6. ^ Minnesota statute 84.111, subd. 1.
  7. ^ Minnesota Public Radio: Wild rice at the center of a cultural dispute
  8. ^ Oelke, Ervin. Saga of the Grain. 2007. pp.29-33.
  9. ^ Ricewild website
  10. ^ Lustgarten, Michael (2013-05-20). "Wild Rice: The Protein-Rich Grain that Almost Nobody Knows About!". Retrieved 2013-06-07. 
  11. ^ "Nutrition Facts: Wild Rice, cooked". 2013-06-07. Retrieved 2013-06-07. 
  12. ^ Peterson, Lee, A Field Guide to Edible Wild Plants of Eastern and Central North America (Houghton Mifflin Company, New York City), p. 228.

13. ^ Oelke, Ervin. Saga of the Grain. 2007. 29-33. Print.

External links[edit]

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wild_rice — Please support Wikipedia.
This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia. A portion of the proceeds from advertising on Digplanet goes to supporting Wikipedia.

10448 news items

Jackson Sun

Wed, 07 Oct 2015 00:18:45 -0700

First, cook the wild rice: Add the water to a 2-quart pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the rice and return to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium, cover and cook. For hand-harvested wild rice, start checking in 20 minutes. Cultivated rice ...

St. Cloud Times

St. Cloud Times
Fri, 02 Oct 2015 07:03:45 -0700

As fall approaches, it's time to heat up the soups. And a favorite of Minnesota appetites tends to be creamy chicken wild rice soup. Wild rice is native to the state, making it fun to cook with local ingredients. And this recipe is simple to make from ...


Mon, 05 Oct 2015 11:56:42 -0700

The wild rice from which it was domesticated has reddish grains, but the early farmers who created the rice we eat today selected for white grains. Collectors have never found black grains in more than a thousand samples of wild rice stored in gene banks.

Brainerd Daily Dispatch

Brainerd Daily Dispatch
Sun, 13 Sep 2015 14:04:32 -0700

National Parks and National Wildlife Refuges are closed to wild rice harvesting, except when authorized by special permits. Harvest is allowed on state wildlife management areas, except where specifically closed by posting or rule.

CBS Local

CBS Local
Tue, 15 Sep 2015 11:56:15 -0700

Last weekend (and the next two Saturdays, weather permitting), the Mille Lacs Indian Museum and Trading Post offered demonstrations on traditional Native American techniques of processing wild rice. With the fall foliage just starting to break out ...


Wed, 30 Sep 2015 12:41:15 -0700

Oven Baked Salmon with Roasted Veggies and Wild Rice Serves 4. Prep Time: 10-15 min. Cook Time: 55 min. Ingredients: 4 fillets of Salmon (6oz each) 1 cup dry wild rice 4 cups broccoli 4 cups baby rainbow carrots 3 tbsp. olive oil ½ tbsp. black pepper
Indian Country Today Media Network
Thu, 10 Sep 2015 05:11:15 -0700

The recent assertion by Ojibwe community members of rights under the Treaty of 1855 to gather wild rice and fish on ceded lands at Gull Lake and Hole in the Day (“Tension mounts between DNR, Indian protesters,” Aug. 29) hit close to home for me. I grew ...

La Crosse Tribune

La Crosse Tribune
Tue, 15 Sep 2015 03:26:06 -0700

The Mississippi River has a fair number of established wild rice beds, but the marsh now has only a couple of sites with plants, Friends of the La Crosse Marsh's John Sullivan said. “This is a pilot project,” Sullivan said, “to see if we can give it a ...

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