Wild-rice is Michigan’s only native grain, and a tasty, if not routine, component of our diet. Northern wild-rice especially was also an important food for Native Americans, in Michigan chiefly in the southern Lower Peninsula and western Upper Peninsula. The pistillate spikelets disarticulate from the distinctive concave summit of the clavate pedicels. The strong lateral nerves of the pistillate lemma closely clasp the palea, producing the illusion of a single cylindrical sheath around the rod-like grain. Our two species are annuals, despite their often large size. See Terrell et al. (1997) for the recognition of two species.
1. Pistillate lemma thin and membranous and at least sparsely hispid-scabrous between the strong nerves; aborted (and hence more persistent) pistillate spikelets mostly 0.5–0.9 mm broad; widest leaves 1.5–4.5 cm wide.
1. Pistillate lemma firm and tough, scabrous-hispid only on the nerves and at most at the base and apex; aborted pistillate spikelets mostly 0.9–1.8 mm broad; widest leaves 0.5–1.7 cm wide.
All species found in Zizania
MICHIGAN FLORA ONLINE. A. A. Reznicek, E. G. Voss, & B. S. Walters. February 2011. University of Michigan. Web. January 25, 2021. https://michiganflora.net/genus.aspx?id=Zizania.