Flowering at suitable time is very important for plants to adapt to complicated environments and produce their seeds successfully for reproduction. In rice (Oryza rufipogon Griff.) photoperiod regulation is one of the important factors for controlling heading date. Common wild rice, the ancestor of cultivated rice, exhibits a late heading date and a more sensitive photoperiodic response than cultivated rice. Here, through map-based cloning, we identified a major quantitative trait loci (QTL) LHD1 (Late Heading Date 1), an allele of DTH8/Ghd8, which controls the late heading date of wild rice and encodes a putative HAP3/NF-YB/CBF-A subunit of the CCAAT-box-binding transcription factor. Sequence analysis revealed that several variants in the coding region of LHD1 were correlated with a late heading date, and a further complementary study successfully rescued the phenotype. These results suggest that a functional site for LHD1 could be among those variants present in the coding region. We also found that LHD1 could down-regulate the expression of several floral transition activators such as Ehd1, Hd3a and RFT1 under long-day conditions, but not under short-day conditions. This indicates that LHD1 may delay flowering by repressing the expression of Ehd1, Hd3a and RFT1 under long-day conditions.