Zizania latifolia Turcz. cultivated in China

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Zizania latifolia, which belongs to the tribe Oryzeae, has been cultivated for more than 2000 years and has historically been used in China mainly as an aquatic vegetable. In China, the largest area under cultivation of this plant is located in the regions surrounding Tai Lake, in the provinces of Jiangsu and Zhejiang. Two main types of cultivars have been developed, in one the shoots can be harvested only once, in the fall; in the other, the shoots may be harvested twice in the fall and once the following summer. Z. latifolia can be bred and conserved through clonal propagation as a means of preventing infection of flowering stems by the epiphyte Ustilago esculenta. At the end of the harvest period, healthy individuals and the plants with black spots in the shoots are removed, and those with a healthy clone will be identified and selected as ‘seed’ for the next year.

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