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Zizania latifolia (Griseb.) Turcz. ex Stapf

Zizania latifolia (Griseb.) Turcz. ex Stapf




Limnochloa caduciflora Turcz. ex Trinius, Hydropyrum latifolium Griseb., Zizania caduciflora (Trinius) Handel ­Mazzetti.

Vernacular Names


Manchurian wild rice, Manchurian water rice.


Nomai-nam (Bang­kok), kapek (Southern).


C[ur] ni[eex]ng, ni[ee]ng ni[eex]ng, l[us]a mi[ee]u.


Riz sauvage de Mandchourie.

Geographical Distributions

Zizania lati­folia is indigenous in north-eastern India, Burma, China, Japan, and in parts of eastern Siberia and the Russian Far East. Primarily used as a cereal in ancient times, its evolution and cultivation as a stem vegetable in China dates back at least to the 10th Century. It is now rather widespread in cul­tivation in eastern and south-eastern Asia (China, Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Indo-China, Thailand, Burma, Malaysia). In Indonesia, it is cultivated lo­cally by Chinese people. It has been introduced in Europe, New Zealand, and North America as well.


Zizania lati­folia is an aquatic perennial tillering grass with strong developed rhizomes and stolons and can grow up to 3 m long. The mature rhizome is unbranched, prostrate and with solid apex and nodes. The intern­odes are hollow and divided into chambers by trans­verse membranous septa. The mean external diametre is 2 cm.

The culm is firm, erect, hairless, filled with spongy pith and partitioned in the lower part. It is initially enclosed by the leaves but becomes exposed as the lower leaves die. The apex is solid, measures 0.6 cm long and consists of 1-3 internodes. The remainder of the culm consists of 3 or more hollow internodes where each is about 6 cm long. Each node of the mature culm may give rise to a lateral bud which will de­velop into a shoot. The leaf sheath is loose, ribbed and hairless. The ligule is 2.5 cm, top rounded and bifid. The leaf blade is firm, narrowly linear-lance-shaped, measuring 50­-100 cm x 2-3 cm, long-acuminate, somewhat rough and with very rough margins on both sides. The midrib is stout.

The inflorescence is a panicle which is 40-60 cm long and narrowly pyramidal. The branches are ascending, arranged in pseudowhorls, and with a tuft of long white hairs in the axils. The male spikelets are on the lower part of the panicle. They are lance-shaped, measure 8-12 mm long, usually pur­plish and acute or short-awned. There are 6 stamens. The female spikelets are on the upper part, pale green, linear and measure 15-25 mm. The lemma is oblong, acuminate and very scabrid. The awns are erect, measure 2-3 mm long and scabrous.

Caryopsis is linear-oblongoid and measuring 5 mm x 1 mm.

Ecology / Cultivation

The natural habitat of Z. latifolia in­cludes borders of lakes, still-water bays and slow­ running streams. It seems tolerant of a wide range of climatic and soil conditions.

Line Drawing / Photograph



  1. Plant Resources of South-East Asia No. 8: Vegetables.

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