I have access to a lot of worn out farmland, and dotting the countryside near me are lots of low areas and old farm ponds which have scummed over due to high nitrate, been taken over by cattails, or simply silted nearly full due to the over abundance of tillage that's taken place here for the last century and a half.
So, with all this shallow water I dig up my share of cattails for their many uses, and lay out fish and crawfish traps. I even transplanted some water lilies from a distant park lake to create a little variation in aquatic habitat, but I don't think they have any food value per se...
I ran across a passage in an old Gene Logsdon book, called "Food from Water" (or something to that extent) wherein he talks about the Wild rice of Minnesota and how it would likely grow in just about any shallow place. Now I'm just south of the Iowa border, so thats about 300-400 miles south of wild rices natural territory, but I think it might be a good addition if it would germinate and live in these otherwise stagnant and underutilized pools around here. It also might be a good source of food should our economy go completely south as many of us believe is possible.
Now, here's the catch:
Wild rice (specifically the kind harvested by the native Americans in Minnesota) is either Zizania palustris or Zizania aquatica (not entirely sure which. I somewhat wonder if they are the same thing, misnamed somehow) and seems to be protected. One other species, Zizaania texana (Texas wild rice) grows more to the south in one river in Texas and is protected as it is endangered.
In short my dilemma is availability. I can't seem to find any to try. I was going to do a few seed balls and throw them in derelict ponds and low areas where the rice could sprout and possibly flourish, providing that we aren't too far south here.
Adams-Briscoe Seed company, in Georgia, carries it. I think they backorder it from another company. I tried some years ago....as I recall it came wet, in a plastic bag, with directions to throw it directly into the water where it was to grow. It sank right away and sprouted quickly, but the water dried up in a summer drought and so it didn't produce anything......