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] The APG III and APG IV systems continue to include Tacca in Dioscoreaceae.[3][4]

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


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. [5]


There are at least 16 species,[6]



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.[9][10]



  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. ^ Angiosperm Phylogeny Group (2009). "An update of the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group classification for the orders and families of flowering plants: APG III". Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society. 161 (2): 105–121. doi:10.1111/j.1095-8339.2009.00996.x. ISSN 0024-4074. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2017-05-25.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  4. ^ Angiosperm Phylogeny Group (2016). "An update of the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group classification for the orders and families of flowering plants: APG IV". Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society. 181 (1): 1–20. doi:10.1111/boj.12385. ISSN 0024-4074.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  5. ^ Dahlgren & Clifford 1982.
  6. ^ Catalogue of Life: 2017 Annual Checklist Tacca
  7. ^ Catalogue (2017)
  8. ^ Tropicos
  9. ^ 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.
  10. ^ 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.