E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Zizania aquatica L.
wild rice (annual wildrice)
Poaceae (Grass family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants
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Distribution of Zizania aquatica
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Zizania aquatica var. aquatica


A population of annual wildrice was reported from Widgeon Slough near Pitt Lake by Saarela and Sears in 2004. See Botanical Electronic News # 363

Species Information

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Annual grass from fibrous roots; stems with nodes and collars hairy, 100-300 cm tall.
Sheaths open, prominently cross-nerved; blades flat, 6-40 mm wide; ligules blunt to pointed, entire to more often ragged, 4-15 mm long, smooth externally, marked in front by the upturned margins of the blades.
Inflorescence a large panicle, 20-50 cm long; spikelets linear, falling entire, 1-flowered, either male or female, the male spikelets lowermost in inflorescence, somewhat compressed, not hardened, 6-8 mm long, the lemmas 5-nerved, long-pointed to awn-tipped, the anthers 6-7 mm long, the female spikelets nearly circular in cross-section, tapered but strongly angled, hardened, 10-14 (in fruit 20) mm long, hairy towards the tips, tapered into awns 6-40 mm long; glumes apparently lacking, but often at least one of them vestigial in the male spikelet; paleas as long as the lemmas except for the awns; lodicules 2, bilobed, about 0.6 mm long.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

USDA Species Characteristics

Flower Colour:
Blooming Period:
Fruit/Seed characteristics:
Colour: Black
Present from Summer to Fall
Source:  The USDA

Habitat / Range

Marshes, ponds and lakeshores in the lowland and montane zones; rare in SW and SC BC; introduced from E North America

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


The climate type for this species, as reported in the: "British Columbia plant species codes and selected attributes. Version 6 Database" (Meidinger et al. 2008), is not evaluated, unknown or variable.

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Zizania aquatica subsp. angustifolia (Hitchc.) Tzvelev
Zizania aquatica var. angustifolia Hitchc.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References