Wild Rice

(Zizania species)

Image: Wild rice, © W H Hodge.

Status of wild rice in Tasmania

  • There are several species of wild rice in the genus Zizania. All species of wild rice are declared weeds in Tasmania under the Tasmanian Weed Management Act 1999.
  • The importation, sale and distribution of wild rice are prohibited in Tasmania. The legal responsibilities of landholders and other stakeholders in dealing with wild rice are laid out in the wild rice Statutory Weed Management Plan.

What does wild rice look like?

  • Wild rice is a tall aquatic annual grass. It produces stout, spongy, hollow stems that commonly grow to 70 cm but may reach 240 cm. The leaves are flat, strap-like, 1.2 to 3.6 cm wide and smooth with a thick midrib that is slightly off-centre. Leaf margins may be sharply toothed. Submersed, floating and aerial leaves are produced at different stages of the life cycle. The flower head is a large, showy panicle up to 60 cm long and 30 cm wide. The fruit is an ovoid grain, yellow to red, slender and elongate.
  • Seed germination occurs in spring as water temperatures rise. Seedlings produce a few ribbon-like submerged leaves, followed by floating leaves. A rapid phase of shoot elongation ensues during which aerial leaves emerge and the stems thicken. As seed production nears completion the plant dies.
  • Spread is by seed. Seed is spread by water and on waterfowl.

Impacts of wild rice

  • Wild rice is a potential weed of waterways.

Where does wild rice occur?

  • Wild rice is a native of North America.
  • Wild rice has not naturalised anywhere in Australia.

What you need to do

  • If you locate wild rice anywhere in Tasmania, or if you find a plant that you think could be wild rice, immediately contact Biosecurity Tasmania on 03 6165 3777 to report this weed.

See also
Wild Rice Statutory Weed Management Plan
Weed Links and Resources

Other useful links
Pest Genie

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