Seed Requests

Due to its limited storage longevity (less than 2 years), wild rice (Zizania sp.) seed is not available in any state, national, or international ex-situ repository (i.e. seed banks and nurseries). While the Kimball lab maintains an in-house germplasm collection, we unfortunately cannot supply seed to individual researchers outside our collaborative research network at this time. This is due to the challenging and laborious nature of germplasm maintenance for this species as well as state regulations. For more specifics, please see below.

Commonly Asked Questions/Topics

Why isn’t wild rice seed available in ex-situ repositories?

Wild rice (Zizania sp.) seed is recalcitrant, meaning that its seed is desiccation intolerant and cannot withstand low moisture contents. Unlike desiccation tolerant seed, which can be stored dry for long periods of time in a repository, wild rice has a short shelf life in storage and can only be stored for 1-2 years on water in very cold temperatures.

To learn more about seed recalcitrance, see “The Difference between Orthodox, Intermediate, and Recalcitrant Seed” by Christina Walters and Joyce Maschinski.

Why can’t the Kimball lab supply seeds?

Wild rice seed can only be stored for 1-2 years in our current storage conditions. This requires annual grow-outs of our entire germplasm collection, limiting the total seed that can be harvested in a given year. Additionally, the germination rates of wild rice seed stocks within the program can be highly variable between years and seed lots. Therefore, while we can usually generate enough seed for use in our program, there is not sufficient seed produced for additional ventures.  

To learn more about wild rice’s unique seed physiology and the work we are doing to understand it better, see our website’s Seed Physiology Research page. 

What is the difference between cultivated and natural stand wild rice seed?

Natural stand wild rice grows in Minnesota’s many lakes and streams, reseeding itself each year when the seed dislodges from the seed heads of the plant (also known as shattering). The harvest of natural stand rice is regulated by the state of Minnesota (additional details below).  On the other hand, cultivated wild rice has been bred and selected for traits that make it amenable to commercial production, such as plant height, even seed fill, and most importantly, reduced shattering. This allows cultivated wild rice to be grown in man-made, irrigated paddies, increasing the production of wild rice to meet the growing demand of consumers worldwide. 

How can I access seed from Minnesota lakes and rivers?

The Kimball lab cannot give access to natural stand seed from Minnesota lakes and rivers.  For information on the wild rice harvest, please see the Minnesota DNR Wild Rice Regulations website to learn more about permitting and licensing requirements, seasonality of the harvest, boats and other harvesting equipment, and penalties.

How do I store wild rice seed to keep It alive?

Store your wild rice seed in water in a dark container in your refrigerator (1-3°C, if possible) to keep wild rice seed alive. To store seed longer than a few weeks, change the water every few months to avoid bacteria and fungal growth that can kill your seed. Make sure the water is the same temperature as your refrigerator. You can store seeds for up to 1 year this way. 

How can I seed my pond with wild rice?

In Minnesota, once you have your wild rice harvesting permit (see permitting information above) and the season is opened by the DNR, you can go and harvest seed. Once you have seed, make mud balls packed with wild rice seed and throw them into your pond. If you can’t seed your pond right away after collecting seed, store your seed in water in a dark container in your refrigerator until you are able to do so. Seed as quickly as you can after harvest for the greatest chance of success. For more information and guidelines on seeding wild rice in natural areas read the Great Lakes Indian Fish & Wildlife Commission guide.