Hygroryza aristata (PROSEA)

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Plant Resources of South-East Asia
List of species

Hygroryza aristata (Retzius) Nees ex Wight & Arnott

Family: Gramineae


  • Leersia aristata (Retzius) Roxb.,
  • Pharus aristatus Retzius,
  • Zizania aristata (Retzius) Kunth.

Vernacular names

  • Bengal wild rice (En)
  • Thailand: puchaoloitha, ya-phonglom
  • Vietnam: thia thia.


From India to Indo-China, including Burma (Myanmar) and Thailand. In Assam (India) sometimes cultivated in rivers for forage use.


The grain is eaten in times of scarcity. The whole plant constitutes a good forage, and cattle and buffalo are fond of it.


  • Glabrous perennial aquatic grass, floating and forming dense mats in quiet water, or creeping on wet ground.
  • Stem up to 1.5 m long, spongy, diffusely branched, rooting at the nodes.
  • Leaf sheath inflated; leaf blade elliptical, 3-6 cm × 5-17 mm.
  • Inflorescence a panicle with 4-5 major branches whorled at the top of the peduncle; spikelet one-flowered on pedicel up to 2 mm long; glumes absent; lemma coriaceous, 5-veined, long-awned, palea 3-veined, stamens 6.
  • Caryopsis subcylindrical, 2-3 mm long, with long linear hilum.

H. aristata is found in shallow (up to 60 cm deep) water of permanent or semi-permanent lakes, ponds, swamps, canals and slow-moving streams, up to 350 m altitude. In the dry season the plant survives in muddy areas. Sometimes a troublesome weed in navigation and irrigation canals. The grains are sweet and oleaginous. They are said to be cooling and useful in biliousness.

Selected sources

3, 7, 19, 20, 33, 35.


  • H.N. van der Hoek & P.C.M. Jansen