Monday, 4 June 2012

Wild rice

Wild rice (also called Canada rice, Indian rice, and water oats) is four species of grasses forming the genus Zizania, and the grain which can be harvested from them. The grain was historically gathered and eaten in both North America and China. While it is now something of a delicacy in North America, the grain is eaten less in China,:165 where the plant's stem is used as a vegetable.

Wild rice is not directly related to Asian rice (Oryza sativa), whose wild progenitors are O. rufipogon and O. nivara, although they are close cousins, sharing the tribe Oryzeae. It is also not the plant described as ζιζάνια (zizania) in the Parable of the Tares in the Bible, which is thought to be Lolium temulentum.

The plants grow in shallow water in small lakes and slow-flowing streams; often, only the flowering head of wild rice rises above the water. The grain is eaten by dabbling ducks and other aquatic wildlife, as well as humans.