Zizania aquatica
Wild rice
Image of Zizania aquatica

Photo by Ryan P. O'Connor 

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Key Characteristics

Tall aquatic grass (2-3 m) of emergent marshes, lakeshores, and slowly moving streams; leaves (submersed, floating or aerial) 1-4.5 cm wide; inflorescences terminal with female spikelets above and male spikelets below; pistillate lemmas thin and flexible, with a few stiff hairs between the nerves. Several other varieties also occur.

Status and Rank

  • State Status: T
  • State Rank: S2S3
  • Global Rank: G5


County NameNumber of OccurrencesYear Last Observed
St. Clair22005
St. Joseph32014
Distribution map for Zizania aquatica

Updated 5/15/2018. Information is summarized from MNFI's database of rare species and community occurrences. Data may not reflect true distribution since much of the state has not been thoroughly surveyed.


Specific Habitat Needs

Run needed in Prairie fen

Natural Community Types


For each species, lists of natural communities were derived from review of the nearly 6,500 element occurrences in the MNFI database, in addition to herbarium label data for some taxa. In most cases, at least one specimen record exists for each listed natural community. For certain taxa, especially poorly collected or extirpated species of prairie and savanna habitats, natural community lists were derived from inferences from collection sites and habitat preferences in immediately adjacent states (particularly Indiana and Illinois). Natural communities are not listed for those species documented only from altered or ruderal habitats in Michigan, especially for taxa that occur in a variety of habitats outside of the state.

Natural communities are not listed in order of frequency of occurrence, but are rather derived from the full set of natural communities, organized by Ecological Group. In many cases, the general habitat descriptions should provide greater clarity and direction to the surveyor. In future versions of the Rare Species Explorer, we hope to incorporate natural community fidelity ranks for each taxon.

Associated Plants


The species benefits from habitat protection and the maintenance of wetland hydrology, including the natural cycle of water fluctuations. Agricultural run-off has negative impacts, as does the spread of non-native species like narrow-leaf cattail, Phragmites, and purple loosestrife.

General Survey Guidelines

Random meander search covers areas that appear likely to have rare taxa, based on habitat and the judgement of the investigator.

Survey Methods

Page Citation

Michigan Natural Features Inventory. 2007. Rare Species Explorer (Web Application). Available online at http://mnfi.anr.msu.edu/explorer [Accessed Sep 22, 2018]

More Information

See MNFI Species Abstract


Survey References

Technical References

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