Zizania latifolia

Common name: Manchurian Wild Rice Family: Gramineae
Author: (Griseb.)Turcz. ex Stapf. Botanical references: 200, 266
Synonyms: Zizania caduciflora (Hand.-Mazz.)
Known Hazards: None known
Range: E. Asia – China, Japan, Manchuria.
Habitat: Swamps marshes etc in running or stagnant shallow water1, 136. Shallow water of lake margins and swamps, often forming large patches266.
Edibility Rating (1-5): 4 Medicinal Rating (1-5): 1
Other Possible Synonyms: From various places across the web, may not be correct. See below.
Hydropyrum latifoliumG
Other Common Names: From various places around the Web, may not be correct. See below.
Manchurian Wildrice P,
Epithets: From a Dictionary of Botanical Epithets
latifolia = broad leaved;
Systematics: From a UDSA Plants Database
Order: Cyperales. Renamed to Poaceae — Grass family
Other Range Info: From the Ethnobotany Database

Physical Characteristics

Perennial growing to 3.5m. It is hardy to zone 9. It is in flower from July to September, and the seeds ripen from July to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs). We rate it 4/5 for edibility and 1/5 for medicinal use.

The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It can grow in water.

Habitats and Possible Locations


Cultivar ‘So Zhou’: Pond.

Edible Uses

Flowers; Root; Seed; Stem.

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 time206. They are parboiled then sautéed with other vegetables and have a nutty flavour reminiscent of coconut183. The wild forms of this species have developed resistance to the smut, so specially disease-susceptible cultivars are grown206. Seed – cooked1, 74, 136. It can be used like rice in sweet or savoury dishes183. The seed can also be ground into a flour and used in making cakes, biscuits etcK. The seed contains about 13.7% protein, 0.9% fat, 72.7% carbohydrate, 0.7% ash179. Young inflorescences – cooked and used as a vegetable183. Young shoots – raw or cooked46, 136, 178. A pleasant sweet taste74. The shoots contain about 1% protein, 0.3% fat, 4.7% carbohydrate, 0.7% ash179. Root1, 74. No more details.

Medicinal Uses

Diuretic; Febrifuge; Tonic.

The shoots, roots and the seed are diuretic and febrifuge

178, 218. The leaves are tonic218.

Other Uses


The leaves are woven into mats

1, 46, 61.

Cultivation details

A marsh or water plant requiring shallow stagnant or slowly flowing water, it is easily grown in most soils in a sunny position136. Prefers a slightly acidic clay-loam soil206. 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 country136. It requires hot summers with temperatures between 20 – 30°c if it is to do well206. 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 Britain136. It grows very well at Kew136.


Seed – it must not be allowed to dry out or it will quickly lose its viability, usually within 4 weeks136. 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.


‘So Zhou’
An early cultivar with tender flesh183.