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Bat flowers
White bat flower.jpg
White Bat Flower (Tacca integrifolia)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Monocots
Order: Dioscoreales
Family: Dioscoreaceae
Genus: Tacca
J.R.Forst. & G.Forst.
  • Leontopetaloides Boehm
  • Ataccia C.Presl
  • Chaitaea Sol. ex Seem.
  • Schizocapsa Hance

The genus Tacca, which includes the batflowers and arrowroot, consists of flowering plants in the order Dioscoreales, native to tropical regions of South America, Africa, Australia, Southeast Asia, and various oceanic islands.[1] In older texts, the genus was treated in its own family Taccaceae, but the 2003 APG II system incorporates it into the family Dioscoreaceae.[2]


Earlier classifications placed the genus within the monogeneric family Taccaceae, which in turn was the sole family in the order Taccales. Dahlgren recognised the similarities to the genera within the Dioscoreales, and incorporated the family into that order. [3]


There are at least 17 species,[4]

  1. Tacca ampliplacenta L.Zhang & Q.J.Li - Yunnan
  2. Tacca ankaranensis Bard.-Vauc., 1997 - Madagascar
  3. Tacca bibracteata Drenth - Sarawak
  4. Tacca borneensis Ridl. - Borneo
  5. Tacca celebica Koord. - Sulawesi
  6. Tacca chantrieri André, 1901 - Indochina, Assam, Bangladesh, Tibet, Guangdong, Guangxi, Guizhou, Hainan, Hunan, Yunnan
  7. Tacca ebeltajae Drenth - Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands
  8. Tacca integrifolia Ker Gawl., 1812 - Tibet, Bhutan, Assam, Bangladesh, Indochina, India, Pakistan, Java, Malaysia, Sumatra, Borneo
  9. Tacca lanceolata Spruce - Brazil, Venezuela
  10. Tacca leontopetaloides (L.) Kuntze, 1891 - widespread across tropical Africa, Madagascar, Indian Subcontinent, Southeast Asia, New Guinea, Australia, and various islands of the Indian and Pacific Oceans
  11. Tacca maculata Seem., 1866 - Western Australia, Northern Territory, Fiji, Samoa
  12. Tacca palmata Blume - Indonesia, Indochina, Malaysia, Philippines, New Guinea
  13. Tacca palmatifida Baker - Sulawesi
  14. Tacca parkeri Seem. - South America
  15. Tacca plantaginea (Hance) Drenth, 1972 - Indochina, southern China
  16. Tacca reducta P.C.Boyce & S.Julia - Sarawak, Borneo, Malesia
  17. Tacca subflabellata P.P. Ling & C.T. Ting, 1982 - Yunnan


Several species are cultivated as ornamental plants for their bold foliage and large flowers. The well-known T. chantrieri goes by the names of black batflower, bat-head lily, devil flower or cat's whiskers. Tacca integrifolia is known as the purple or white batflower. Other cultivated varieties include the arrowroot, T. leontopetaloides, and T. cristata aspera.[5][6]



  1. ^ a b Kew World Checklist of Selected Plant Families
  2. ^ Caddick, L. R., P. Wilkin, P. J. Rudall, T. A. J. Hedderson & M. W. Chase. 2002. Yams reclassified: a recircumscription of Dioscoreaceae and Dioscoreales. Taxon 51(1): 103–114.
  3. ^ Dahlgren & Clifford 1982.
  4. ^ Te Plant List: Tacca
  5. ^ Govaerts, R., Wilkin, P. & Saunders, R.M.K. (2007). World Checklist of Dioscoreales. Yams and their allies: 1-65. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
  6. ^ Flora of China, Vol. 24 Page 274, 蒟蒻薯属 ju ruo shu shu, Tacca J. R. Forster & G. Forster, Char. Gen. Pl. 35. 1775.