This species is closely related to the African rice (Oryza sativa) and can hybridize with it when both plants grow nearby. It is also closely related to Oryza longistaminata[
Oryza breviligulata A.Chev. & Roehr.
Oryza mezii Prodoehl
Oryza perennis barthii (A.Chev.) A.Chev.
Oryza stapfii Roshev.
Oryza barthii is an annual, clump-forming grass with erect to semi-erect culms that form new roots at the lower nodes; it can grow 60 - 150cm tall.
Because they are a source of resistance to, or tolerance of, biotic and abiotic stresses, the most important use of the various species of wild rice is probably in breeding programmes to improve the species of cultivated rice (Oryza sativa, Oryza glaberrima). The edible seed of this species is sometimes harvested from the wild for local use. It is not cultivated; in fact, the grain has very limited use because of the difficulty in harvesting it. It is sold at a very high price, however, and is considered a product of unusually choice quality[
Tropical Africa - Mauritania east to Ethiopia and south to Botswana and Zimbabwe.
Growing in shallow water in ponds, marshes, rice fields and other similar habitats, often forming pure dominant stands but usually scattered with other aquatic grasses[
]. Found at elevations up to 1,500 metres[
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Requires an open, sunny position. Prefers clay or black cotton soils. Succeeds in deep water, but grows best in shallow water[
The plant is often considered to be a weed within its native range, where it is often found growing amongst rice[
Seed - cooked[
]. A good flavour[
]. Seen more as a famine food, though it is often harvested if found growing wild in sufficient quantity[
The panicle is short; and the ripe grain, which is small, falls out of the husk very easily. For this reason it is impossible to cut the heads for thrashing without losing most of the grain. To obviate this difficulty, local people, in those regions where the plant is common, paddle among the ripe grain in their canoes, shaking the panicles over a small calabash, or basket, held in one hand. Most of the grain falls into the basket and is saved. If it is late in the season, the ripe grain will float on the surface of the water and that which falls outside of the basket may be recovered[
The plant is related to the cultivated African rice (Oryza glaberrima) and can be used in breeding programmes with both that species and the Asian rice (Oryza sativa)[
Seed. The seed of wild rice less than 12 months old often exhibits strong dormancy, which implies (though this has not been established) that the seed retains its viability for a considerable period[
Heat treatment is generally effective in breaking dormancy - alternating temperatures between 34°c for 16 hours then 11°c for 8 hours is usually effective, though the time taken varies between species[
Surface sow the seed in light shade and do not allow to dry out. Seed should germinate within 7 days at 30°c[
]. Prick out 2 - 3 seedlings into individual pots when large enough to handle and, after a few days, move to a sunny position. Grow on until large enough to plant out.
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