White Bat Flower
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White Bat Flower
P Native Photo: Angela Pangkam
Common name: White Bat Flower, White Bat Lily, Bat Flower, Giant Bat Plant, White Bat Plant, Devil's Flower • Adi: Tagon, Babor • Mizo: Thialkha • Tangkhul: Yaipai
Botanical name: Tacca integrifolia    Family: Dioscoreaceae (Yam family)
Synonyms: Tacca laevis, Tacca aspera, Tacca cristata

White Bat Flower is a herb growing from a thick, cylindrical rhizome. The leaf blades are carried on long stalks and are oblong-elliptical to oblong-lanceshaped, 50-20 cm, with tapering bases and slender pointed tips. The flowering stem is about 55 cm long and is topped with a pair of involucral bracts, broad and erect, white with mauve venation. Among the individual nodding flowers, which are arranged in an umbel, are further long, thread-like bracts. The perianth of each flower is tubular and purplish-black, 1-2 cm long, with two whorls of three tepals, the outer three narrowly oblong and the inner three broadly obovate. The fruits are fleshy berries about 2 cm long, and the seeds, which have six longitudinal ridges, have the remains of the tepals still attached. White Bat Flower is found in mountain forests in Eastern Himalayas, at altitudes of 800-900 m. It is found in Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, NE India, Indonesia, Laos, W Malaysia, Myanmar, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam.
Medicinal uses: Rhizomes are used in Traditonal Chinese Medicine to treat gastric ulcers, burns and high blood pressure and burns, as well as improve sexual functioning. In Malaysia, rhizome paste is applied to treat skin rash caused by hairy stinging caterpillars, and onto wounds or heel cracks. Pounded berries are mixed with water and drunk to treat dystentery and stomachaches. Leaf decoction is taken orally with salt for bloody dysentery and acute diarrhoea. Overdosing results in toxicity.

Identification credit: Tabish Photographed in Arunachal Pradesh.

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