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Wild rice thrives best in shallow lakes

Wild Rice Plant Description

Wild rice is grass related to domestic rice (Oryza sativa and Oryza glaberrima). All members of the same tribe Oryzeae, wild rice has an edible outer sheath with a tender grain inside. The plant is known by its Ojibwe name, mandolin, Canada rice, Indian rice, and water oats.

Classification of Wild Rice
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Monocots
Clade: Commelinids
Order: Poales
Family: Poaceae
Subfamily: Oryzoideae
Tribe: Oryzeae
Subtribe: Zizaniinae
Genus: Zizania
Zizania palustris: Annual native to southern Canada, the north-central United States, and the Great Lakes area
Zizania aquatica: Annual native to the St. Lawrence River area and Atlantic and Gulf coastal regions of the United States
Zizania texana: Also called Texas wild rice, a perennial nearly extinct in central Texas along the San Marcos River but has become an invasive species in New Zealand since its accidental introduction
Zizania latifolia: Also called Manchurian wild rice, a perennial native to China

History of Wild Rice
Native peoples in the United States have been eating wild rice for thousands of years, harvesting it from boats by gently knocking the grain heads with specialized wooden sticks into collecting baskets. Any grains falling into the water seed the next season’s crop. The plant has long been regarded as sacred by several tribes. In 2018, manoomin was granted legal personhood with the right to flourish by the White Earth Nation of Ojibwe. They filed a lawsuit in 2021 against the oil pipeline developers whose construction endangered the natural habitat.

Manchurian wild rice was a primary food source in ancient China, but now it is almost non-existent in the wild. No longer cultivated for its grain value, it is grown only for fleshy white stems.

In the 20th century, wild rice began increasing in popularity in both the United States and Canada. Today it is commercially considered almost an exotic food for mixing in other dishes rather than consuming on its own.

Preferred Growing Conditions
Wild rice thrives best in shallow lakes, slow-moving streams, and fresh marshes. The plants grow vertically underwater in mid-spring, eventually reaching several feet tall. Each plant flower has male spikelets below the female spikelets at the end of the stalk. In July, the plants cross-pollinate. The ripening grains fall into the water over about ten days if not harvested or eaten by deer, fish, and other wildlife.

Nutritional Value of Wild Rice


Wild rice is quite nutritious, containing protein, lysine, and dietary fiber. It is a good source of thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6, folate, iron, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, and manganese. Low in fat, it also offers the antioxidant apigenin, which is being evaluated in cancer research.

Wild Rice Precautions
Like other rice, wild rice potentially contains arsenic and other heavy metals absorbed from its environment. Soaking the grains in water overnight for up to 24 hours is a safe practice. Another concern is the rare potential of ergot toxin; infected grains exhibit pink or purple spots and should be discarded.

Wild Rice in Cooking


This nutritious and natural food is becoming increasingly common due to its high nutrient density.

Water Willow

Water Willow

Water Willow is a native aquatic plant with lance-shaped leaves and spikes of small, tubular, white to lavender flowers, commonly found in streams and wetland areas. They offer a plethora of positive attributes that make them an excellent addition to any landscaping design. These charming deciduous trees are native to the southeastern United States and thrive in wetland areas, making them perfect for water gardens, pond edges, and other moist environments. Here, we explore the top attributes that make them valuable in landscaping. Aesthetic Appeal: These trees boast elegant lance-shaped leaves with a lush green hue, adding a touch of sophistication to any landscape. During late summer to fall, they bloom small, attractive white flowers that attract butterflies and other pollinators, enhancing the beauty of the surroundings. Erosion Control: Planted along the edges of ponds, lakes, or streams, their roots help prevent erosion, protecting the banks and maintaining the structural integrity of the water bodies. Water willow trees have a robust root system, which aids in soil stabilization. Wildlife Habitat: These trees create essential habitats for various wildlife species. The dense foliage and the presence of flowers provide shelter and nesting sites for birds, while the seeds and vegetation serve as valuable food sources for ducks, geese, and other waterfowl. Water Purification: These trees are natural cleaners. They help cleanse and filter water in wetland areas by absorbing excess nutrients and pollutants, enhancing water quality. This ecological function is essential for maintaining a healthy and balanced aquatic ecosystem. Low Maintenance: These trees are relatively low-maintenance, requiring minimal care once established. They are disease-resistant and can adapt to different soil conditions, making them a hassle-free addition to the landscape. Diverse Planting Options: These trees are versatile in planting arrangements. They can be used as stand-alone specimens near water features or planted in clusters to create naturalistic and visually appealing performances. Butterfly and Pollinator Attraction: The trees' flowers produce nectar, attracting butterflies and various pollinators, which is delightful to witness and contributes to the landscape's biodiversity. Seasonal Interest: These trees offer seasonal interest beyond their striking flowers. Their foliage turns yellow or bronze in the fall, adding warm colors to the landscape before shedding their leaves for the winter. Natural Privacy Screen: When planted in groups, these trees create an effective natural privacy screen along the water's edge or in other damp areas, shielding the landscape from unwanted views. Native Species: As native plants, these trees promote ecological balance and support the local ecosystem. By incorporating these trees into landscaping, homeowners can contribute to conservation efforts and maintain their region's natural heritage. In conclusion, these water willow plants bring an array of positive attributes to landscaping designs. From their aesthetic charm to their ecological contributions, these trees offer a sustainable and visually pleasing addition to any water-based landscape, benefiting wildlife and the overall environment. Order your Water Willow at TN Nursery today! The Water Willow plant, scientifically known as Justicia americana, is a captivating aquatic perennial in North America's wetlands, marshes, and shallow waters. This enchanting native plant belongs to the Acanthaceae family and is admired for its aesthetic appeal and ecological significance. It is a striking plant characterized by its slender, lance-shaped leaves, typically arranged in opposite pairs along the stems. The leaves are glossy and green, with a smooth texture that glistens in the sunlight, giving the plant an elegant and graceful appearance. These leaves have an elongated shape, and their edges may exhibit a subtle ripple, adding to the plant's visual intrigue. Water Willow Has Beautiful Flowers  One of the most captivating features of the plant is its beautiful and delicate flowers. Clusters of tubular, lavender to violet-hued blossoms bloom atop slender, erect stems, creating a stunning contrast with the green foliage. These flowers bloom from late spring to summer and attract pollinators, making them crucial to local ecosystems. The plant's habitat plays a crucial role in its growth and development. It is predominantly found in shallow waters, where its roots are partially submerged, allowing it to thrive in the ever-changing conditions of wetlands and riparian areas. It serves as an anchor, preventing erosion along stream banks and providing essential habitat for aquatic wildlife. Water Willow Is Great For The Planet   Aside from its ecological significance, it has also found its way into the hearts of nature enthusiasts and gardeners who appreciate its unique beauty. Its graceful appearance and ability to attract pollinators make it a charming addition to water gardens and natural landscapes. The Water Willow plant is a captivating aquatic perennial with slender, glossy leaves and clusters of lavender to violet flowers. Its elegant presence in wetlands and shallow waters contributes to its ecological importance, serving as a haven for pollinators and a vital component of local ecosystems. Beyond its environmental role, Water Willow's beauty and grace make it a cherished feature in natural landscapes and water gardens, adding to the enchantment of North America's wetland habitats.

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