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- Wild Rice is a large grass that can grow up to 9 feet tall. The stems are thick and spongy and support multiple branches or branchlets.
Here's how your plants will look on arrival. All plants are dormant with no leaves or foliage.
Zizania aquatica - Wild Rice
Zizania Aquatica, or Wild Rice, is an annual aquatic grass native to southern Canada and northern and eastern United States. This yearly aquatic grass is a giant grass that can grow up to 9 feet tall. The stems are thick and spongy and support multiple branches or branchlets. The color of the stems ranges from medium green to light brown. The airy and open inflorescence, or flowering part of the plant that includes the bracts and flowers, can reach 3 – 4 feet in length and 1 – 2 feet across. The upper branchlets host numerous flowers that range from yellow to green to red-brown. The flowers bloom in summer followed by seed production in late summer to early fall. The seed color is typically dark brown or black. Despite the height, the roots of Wild Rice are slender and fibrous and have a spread of approximately 12 inches full and 3 feet deep. Zizania aquatica is found in marshes, pond edges, lakes, and rivers in the USDA Hardiness Zones 3 to 9. This plant can tolerate a wide range of soil saturation, from saturated soil to open water, as well as a wide range of soil types, from course to sandy soils. This plant prefers full sun but has little drought tolerance. At pond and lake edges, the plant is useful erosion control, bioremediation, and naturalizing marginal areas. Wild Rice has an ornamental quality when growing en masse due to the fern-like appearance of the inflorescences. Zizania aquatica is one of the species of native aquatic grasses that provide edible grains for human consumption. It is also a prevalent food source for birds and provides a habitat for fish and waterfowl. In spite of the ease of harvest, Wild Rice should be allowed to go to seed to in the late summer and early fall to allow for the propagation of new plants the following year.