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Plants annual or perennial; aquatic, usually rooted in the substrate; sometimes rhizomatous or stoloniferous; monoecious. Culms to 5 m, erect and emergent or floating. Leaves concentrated on the lower portion of the stem or evenly distributed; sheaths open, not inflated; ligules membranous or scarious, glabrous; pseudopetioles absent; blades flat, aerial or floating, scabrous or smooth. Inflorescences terminal panicles; branches usually unisexual, lower branches staminate, upper branches pistillate, middle branches sometimes with staminate and pistillate spikelets intermixed; pedicel apices cupulate; disarticulation beneath the spikelets, in cultivated strains disarticulation delayed, the spikelets tending not to shatter until harvested. Spikelets unisexual, with 1 floret. Glumes absent; calluses inconspicuous; lemmas 5-veined; paleas 3-veined; lodicules 2, membranous. Staminate spikelets pendant, terete or appearing so; lemmas membranous; paleas membranous, loosely enclosing the stamens; anthers 6. Pistillate spikelets terete; lemmas chartaceous or coriaceous, margins involute and clasping the margins of the paleas, apices acute to acuminate, sometimes awned, awns terminal, slender, scabridulous; styles 2, bases not fused, stigmas laterally exserted, plumose. Caryopses cylindrical; embryos linear, often as long as the caryopses; hila linear, x = 15.
Zizania Aquatica, Zizania Latifolia, Zizania Palustris, Zizania Texana
Flora of North America, Vol. 24 (2007).
Terrell, Edward E., "Zizania" (2007). KIP Articles. 5868.