Species Detail

Zizania aquatica L.
Wild rice; Indian wheat; Maggot Soup

Scientific Name:  
Zizania aquatica L.
Common Name:  
Wild rice; Indian wheat; Maggot Soup
Myaamia Name:  
nalomina Miami
Harvest Seasons:  
Growth Forms:  

Myaamia Archival Sources  
Zizania aquatica L.
Reference Source Reference Type Archival Data Comments
No Reference Specified Related Info  Manoomin means 'good berry' in Ojibwe. Ojibwe migrated to Lake Superior region due to the abundant rice fields.
No Reference Specified Related Info  Persistent annual grass that reproduces from seeds. Growth occurs immediately after ice melt in shalow waters (1-3ft), where the substrate is soft and organic. Other factors affecting its growth include water turbidity, substrate type, sediment nutrient levels, wave energy, and water level fluctuations.
Gleason, H.A. & Cronquist, A. 1991 Habitat  shores and associated wetland areas in eastern Miami lands
Steyermark, J.A. 1963 Habitat  swamps and borders of ponds and stream in western Miami lands southeastern Missouri
Dunn, J.P. Circa 1900 Use - Food  "maggot " soup made of wild rice
Dunn, J.P. Circa 1900 Use - Food  "nalomini; rice wild"
Thwaites, R.G. (editor) 1903 Use - Food  " . . .and the river upon which we rowd; to find the place we were to land and carry our canow into the other; was so full of wild-oats; that it lookt [sic] rather like a corn-field than a river; insomuch that we coud hardly discover its channel. As the Miamis frequented this place [somewhere in southern Wisconsin]; they conducted us to the usual place of portage . . ."
N/A 1998-2006 Use - Unknown  a plant called "indian wheat" by Joutel
Tippman, D. 2005, February 27 Use - Food  "wild rice probably traded and harvested in Miami territory; since it grows in the area"
Tippman, D. 2005, February 27 Ecological Info  "wild rice used to grow in the Fort Wayne area; approximately in the 1980s and before; but the certain type of wet area it needs are diminishing"
McPherson, Alan and Sue McPherson. 1977 Related Info  wild rice; "was a favorite food of the Potawatomie Indians because it could be kept for use in the winter when other vegetable foods and meat were scarce or difficult to obtain"
Thwaites, R.G. (editor) 1903 Related Info  Menominees gathering and use of wild rice in 1673: "The Wild Oats; from which they have got their name; is a sort of corn which grows naturally in the small rivers; the bottom whereof is Owzie [oozy or slimy]; as also in marshy grounds. It is much like our European oats; the stem is knotted; and grows about two foot above the surface of the water. The corn is not bigger than ours; but it is twice as long; and therefore it yields much more meal. It grows above the water in June; and the savages gather it about September in this manner: They go in their canows into those rivers; and as they go they shake the ears of corn in their canows; which easily falls; if it be ripe: They dry it upon the fire; and when it is very dry; they put it into a kind of sack made with the skin of beasts; and having made a hole in the ground; they put their sack therein; and tread on it till they see the chaff is separated from the corn; which they winnow afterwards. They pound it in a mortar to reduce it into meal; or else boil it in water; and season it with grease; which makes it near as good as our rice"
Kenton, E 1925 Related Info  Menominees gathering and use of wild rice described
Costa, D.J. 2000 Related Info  The Miami-Illinois name for the Menominee is naloomina; which means people of the wild rice
Botanical Sources  
Zizania aquatica L.
Reference Source Notes Data Comments
No Reference Specified   Wild rice included in early flora of Indiana (Lake, Laporte, Newton and Jasper Counties).
Related Sources  
Zizania aquatica L.
Reference Source Notes Data Comments
No Reference Specified   Ojibwe call it 'manoomin' and collect wild rice in selected ceded territories.
Bush, L. L 1996   Wild rice identified at at the Crouch site of the Smith Valley Complex of archaeological sites, south of Indianapolis. Attribution unclear: Huber Phase Oneota, Missisippian peoples of eastern Illinois or other. This was originally identified as Oliver Phase (1200-1450) and likely Miami, but has been corrected (personal communication with Leslie Bush, June 3, 2019) - Mike Gonella. – Michael Gonella