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Manchurian Wild Rice (Zizania latifolia)

Z. caducifolia.
Common Name Latin Name Plant Family
Manchurian Wild Rice
Zizania latifolia

The leaves are woven into mats[1, 46, 61].

  • Medicinal Use

    The shoots, roots and the seed are diuretic and febrifuge[178, 218].

    The leaves are tonic[218].

  • Edible Use

    The swollen stem bases, infected with the smut fungus Ustilago esculenta, are eaten as a vegetable by the Chinese[1, 74, 105]. They must be harvested before the fungus starts to produce spores since the flesh deteriorates at this time[206]. They are parboiled then sautŽed with other vegetables and have a nutty flavour reminiscent of coconut[183]. The wild forms of this species have developed resistance to the smut, so specially disease-susceptible cultivars are grown[206].

    Seed – cooked[1, 74, 136]. It can be used like rice in sweet or savoury dishes[183]. The seed can also be ground into a flour and used in making cakes, biscuits etc[K]. The seed contains about 13.7% protein, 0.9% fat, 72.7% carbohydrate, 0.7% ash[179].

    Young inflorescences – cooked and used as a vegetable[183].

    Young shoots – raw or cooked[46, 136, 178]. A pleasant sweet taste[74]. The shoots contain about 1% protein, 0.3% fat, 4.7% carbohydrate, 0.7% ash[179].

    Root[1, 74]. No more details.

  • Cautionary Notes

    None known

Cultivation & Habitat

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 a greenhouse in spring. Immerse the pots so that they are covered by about 5cm of water. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Division in spring. Larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. We have found that it is best to pot up smaller divisions and grow them on in light shade in a greenhouse or cold frame until they are growing away well. Plant them out in the summer or the following spring.
A marsh or water plant requiring shallow stagnant or slowly flowing water, it is easily grown in most soils in a sunny position[136]. Prefers a slightly acidic clay-loam soil[206]. One report suggests that the plant is in hardiness zone 9 (only tolerating light frosts)[200] but this is rather questionable, there are several reports of the plant being perfectly hardy in Britain, though it does not usually flower in this country[136]. It requires hot summers with temperatures between 20 – 30¡c if it is to do well[206]. It is often cultivated as a food crop in E. Asia and is often grown as cover for wild fowl along the sides of lakes in Britain[136]. It grows very well at Kew[136].
E. Asia – China, Japan, Manchuria.

Become ungovernable, break the chains of the matrix; grow and forage your own food and medicine.

*None of the information on this website qualifies as professional medical advice. Take only what resonates with your heart and use your own personal responsibility for what’s best for you. For more information [brackets] [000], see bibliography.