Heading date is an important agronomic trait in rice. A rice mutant with a late heading date and no photoperiodic sensitivity in long or short day conditions was obtained from rice T-DNA insertion mutants in Zhonghua11 (ZH11). Through isolation and analysis of the flanking sequence of the T-NDA insertion site, the target sequence of insertion was obtained and found to locate in AP003296, the sequence accession number of rice chromosome 1 of RGP (http://rgp.dna.affrc.go.jp). The putative amino acid sequences of this target gene are homologous to the Arabidopsis protein ELF3 encoded by an early flowering gene. The rice target gene orthologous to Arabidopsis ELF3 is named OsEF3; this encodes a putative nematode responsive protein-like protein. OsEF3 has pleiotropic effects in rice that differ from the effects of Arabidopsis ELF3, which only affects biological rhythms. OsEF3 regulates heading date by influencing the BVG stage and does not affect photoperiodic sensitivity, which suggests that the OsEF3 gene may be involved in an autonomous pathway in rice. OsEF3 may affect root development and kilo-grain weight by delaying cell division or cell elongation.