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Native people who utilized Zizania palustris are the Chippewa/Ojibwa, Ottawa/Odawa and Potawatomi.Ways of preparing it varied from stewing the grains with deer broth and or maple syrup, made into stuffings for wild birds, or even steaming it into sweets like puffed rice, or rice pudding sweetened with maple syrup.The plants are not beaten with the knockers but require only a gentle brushing to dislodge the mature grain.The Ojibwa people call this plant manoomin, meaning "harvesting berry" (commonly translated "good berry").Because of its nutritional value and taste, wild rice increased in popularity in the late 20th century, and commercial cultivation began in the U. They constructed dikes around the acre, dug ditches for drainage, and put in water controls.In the fall they tilled the soil, and in the spring of 1951 they acquired 50 lb (23 kg) of seed from Wildlife Nurseries Inc.
The grain is eaten by dabbling ducks and other aquatic wildlife, as well as by humans.
Wild rice seeds can be infected by the highly toxic fungus ergot, which is dangerous if eaten.