‘Black Madras’ ornamental rice (Oryza sativa) produces clumps of reddish purple, spiky leaf blades reaching about 18 inches tall. The flowers aren’t very distinctive, but you’ll definitely notice the arching clusters of seeds as they mature. The plant grows well in the ground but is particularly good in containers, where you can really appreciate its color and form. Wherever you grow it, it appreciates full sun and a steady supply of moisture. This heat-lover can be perennial in frost-free regions but is generally grown as an annual.
To my eye, the foliage of ‘Black Madras’ rice can be a bit more on the purple side than that of ‘Red Dragon’ rice, but the color can vary depending on the age of the plant and the growing conditions, often appearing distinctly reddish. If you’ve had no luck finding seeds of ‘Red Dragon’ (which seems to have disappeared from the trade), consider giving this one a try.
Harvested in fall 2019. At least 15 seeds.