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Wild Rice (Zizania) Research

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Domestication of wild rice (Zizania) cultivars has helped to improve some of the negative economic traits of the wild varieties associated with shattering, disease resistance, seed dormancy, tiller asynchrony, and variable seed size (11, 12, 14). But there is still a lot of potential for further genetic development to improve these traits using the current genetic variability, which will also expand the growing region into nothern climates by developing strains with earlier maturation. Europe, Canada, and current waste swamplands are areas for this potential development (11, 14).

Whether or not genetic research should be conducted on wild rice is a major debate between opposing parties. Native Americans are fighting to unsully their culture and traditions. For more information on this debate, see:

Diseases that affect Zizania have also been identified in Oryza. Diseases in natural stands are not usually significant economic factors, except for ergot, but diseases in cultivated stands can cause severe losses. The most serious problems are fungi - brownspot and stem rot (11, 12, 13, 21). Fungal diseases (brownspot and stem rot, leaf blotch, stem smut, spot blotch), weeds (water plantain, giant burreed, cattail, small pondweed, sago pondweed, common arrowhead, cursed crowfoot, water starwort) and other diseases (bacterial brown spot, bacterial leaf streak, wheat streak mosaic virus-wild rice (WSMV-WR)) are partially controlled through cultural practices and improved agriculture traits such as: earlier maturity; an upright leaf structure; proper fertilization, water and land management; and crop rotation; but genetic disease resistance and chemical controls are also part of the overall focus of research (10, 11, 12, 13). In Minnesota, cultivated wild rice production depends upon successful use of malathion, because without treatment pests would damage 75% or more of the cultivated wild rice crop (10). Algae, blackbirds, crayfish and tadpole shrimp may damage seedlings or young crops and are usually managed through various methods - chemicals (for algae), water management and physical repellants (10). Waterfowl usually cause no serious economic damage to the wild rice crop (11, 12, 13).

Databases and Genetic Information


  1. Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. 2003. Plant Gene Resources of Canada., accessed 5/23/06.
  2. Bois Forte Reservation Tribal Council. 1998. Wild Rice Sales and General Information. Bois Forte Band of Chippewa, Deptartment of Natural Resources.
  3. California Plant Names: Latin and Greek Meanings and Derivations A Dictionary of Botanical Etymology. 2003-2005 Compiled by Michael L. Charters. , accessed 5/23/06.
  4. California Wild Rice Advisory Board. 2006. Wild Rice Facts., accessed 5/23/06.
  5. California Wild Rice Growers Association. What is wild rice?, accessed 5/23/06.
  6. Christmas Point Wild Rice Company. 2000-2005. About Wild Rice., accessed 5/23/06.
  7. Clayton, W.D., Harman, K.T. and Williamson, H. (2002 onwards). World Grass Species: Descriptions, Identification, and Information Retrieval. [accessed 28 March 2006].
  8. Erickson, S. 7/16/96. Wild Rice Production Process, accessed 5/23/06.
  9. Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS). 2006. Retrieved May 23, 2006, from the Integrated Taxonomic Information System on-line database,
  10. Nelson, J. 2000. Crop Profile for Wild Rice in Minnesota. Minnesota Pesticide Impact Assessment Program (PIAP). From USDA - NSF Center for Integrated Pest Management. North Carolina State University.
  11. Oelke, E.A. 1993. Wild rice: Domestication of a native North American genus. p. 235-243. In: J. Janick and J.E. Simon (eds.), New crops. Wiley, New York.
  12. Oelke, E.; Teynor,T.; Carter, P.; Percich, J.; Noetzel,D.; Bloom,P.; Porter,R.; Schertz, C.; Boedicker,J.; and Fuller, E. Zizania aquatica L. January 9, 1998.
  13. E.A. Oelke, T.M. Teynor, P.R. Carter, J.A. Percich, D.M. Noetzel, P.R. Bloom, R.A. Porter, C.E. Schertz, J.J. Boedicker, and E.I. Fuller. Wild Rice. Wisconsin Corn Agronomy., accessed 5/23/06.
  14. Small, E. 1999. New crops for Canadian agriculture. p. 15-52. Wild Rice (Zizania palustris L). In: J. Janick (ed.), Perspectives on new crops and new uses. ASHS Press, Alexandria, VA.
  15. Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. 2006. Texas Wild-rice (Zizania texana)., accessed 5.23.06.
  16. 1854 Tribal Treaty Authority (2006). "Biology of Wild Rice.", accessed 5/23/06.
  17. University of Florida. 1998. Zizania aquatica, Aquatic Plant Information Retrieval System. Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants.
  18. US Fish and Wildlife Service. 2006. Wild-rice, Texas., accessed 5/23/06.
  19. USDA, NRCS. 2006. The PLANTS Database, 6 March 2006 ( Data compiled from various sources by Mark W. Skinner. National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA.
  20. Waikato Regional Council. 1999-2006. Regional Pest Management Strategy 2002-2007, Section 5 - Plant Pests. Environment Waikato.
  21. Watson, L., and Dallwitz, M.J. 1992 onward. The grass genera of the world: descriptions, illustrations, identification, and information retrieval; including synonyms, morphology, anatomy, physiology, phytochemistry, cytology, classification, pathogens, world and local distribution, and references. Version: 28th November 2005.
  22. Wikipedia contributors (2006). Wild Rice. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved May 23, 2006.
  23. Wild Rice Nation. 2006. Wild Rice Farming.
  24. Yamaguchi, M. 1990. Asian vegetables. p. 387-390. In: J. Janick and J.E. Simon (eds.), Advances in new crops. Timber Press, Portland, OR. found at