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Zizania latifolia and Ustilago esculenta, a Grass-Fungus Association

E. E. Terrell and L. R. Batra
Economic Botany
Vol. 36, No. 3 (Jul. - Sep., 1982), pp. 274-285
Published by: Springer on behalf of New York Botanical Garden Press
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4254397
Page Count: 12
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Zizania latifolia and Ustilago esculenta, a Grass-Fungus Association
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Abstract

Zizania latifolia (Manchurian wild rice), native to eastern Asia, is often infected by the smut fungus, Ustilago esculenta, causing culm enlargement and failure to produce flowers. The enlarged infected culms have been used as a vegetable (gau sun) in China since the 10th century. The occasionally-used name Z. caduciflora is shown to be only a synonym. To facilitate identification of the host, a taxonomic key shows that Z. latifolia differs from and is fully distinct from the American species of Zizania. The nature and structure of the fungus and the history and cultivation of the vegetable are described. As a precaution we propose quarantine of the host and fungus to prevent possible disastrous widespread infection of American wild rices by the fungus.

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