African Plant Database

Tacca leontopetaloides (L.) Kuntze
Protologue : Revis. Gen. Pl. 2: 704 (1891) 
Information on the genus : Tacca
Basionym : Leontice leontopetaloides L.
Status for MA : accepted (naturalised)
Status for TA : accepted (present)
Synonym(s) Homotypic
 Leontice leontopetaloides L. (1753)
Synonym(s) Heterotypic
=Tacca artocarpifolia Seem. (1868)
=Tacca involucrata Schumach. & Thonn. (1827)
=Tacca pinnatifida J.R. Forst. & G. Forst. (1775)
=Tacca umbrarum Jum. & H. Perrier (1910)
=Tacca madagascariensis Bojer (1830)
=Tacca pinnatifida var. acutifolia H. Limpr. (1902)
=Tacca involucrata var. acutifolia (H. Limpr.) H. Limpr. (1928)
=Tacca pinnatifida subsp. madagascariensis Limpr. (1902)
=Chaitaea tacca Sol. ex Seem.
Ecology and distribution
Trop. Afr.
Biology : Herb to 2 m tall, annual from a fleshy tuber to 10 cm Ø, buried deep in the soil; leaves 1-3; sheathing cataphylls 2-3, to 5 cm long, enclosing the bases of the petioles and flowering stems; petiole ridged longitudinally, to 1-1,8 m long; blade trifid at apex of the petiole, each segment 1-3-pinnatisect, to 90x60 cm; lobes ovate-acuminate, to 12x7 cm, smaller orbicular lobes between them to 3x2,5 cm; flowering stem 1, to 1,7 m tall, hollow; inflorescence bracts 4-8, forming an involucre with floral buds, erect to spreading at anthesis, green with purple margins and apices; floral bracts numerous, filiform, pendent, to 25 cm long, dark purple, paler towards apex; flowers 10-40, pale green to white, yellowish or brown, tinged purple; tepals 6, thick, fleshy, fused at base; fruit berry-like, subglobose, 6-ridged, 2-3x1,7-3 cm, pendent, orange.
Ecology : Wet river banks; forest gallery; lake shore forest; grassland; bushland; open woodland; under shade in savanna; dembos; usually on open sandy soils; road sides; termitaria; dunes; swamps; beaches; thickets; as a weed in plantations; 0-1500 m alt.
  Various leaf forms have been described as distinct species. But the size and shape of the lobes seem to depend on environmental conditions.
  Tubers edible, rich in starch, but those of wild plants generally poisonous. More widely cultivated in the past, also as source of fibre.
  From Tropical Africa E-wards through Tropical Asia and the Pacific, Marquesas Isl., Hawaii (general map in Blumea 20: 379, 1972).
Biol./Eco : Herb, Geophyte; Humid, Subhumid; Anthropic; 1000-1499 m; distribution: Naturalised in Madagascar.

Bibliography for Tropical Africa :
  • Peyre de Fabrègues B. & J. P. Lebrun (1976). Catalogue des plantes vasculaires du Niger. Maison Alfort
  • Boudet G. & J.P. Lebrun (1986). Catalogue des plantes vasculaires du Mali. Etudes et Synthèses IEMVT 16
  • Cat. Pl. Vasc. Burkina Faso:121 (2012)
  • Darbyshire, I. Kordofami, M. & al. (2015). The plants of Sudan and South Sudan, An annoted checklist. Kew Publishing
  • César J. & C. Chatelain (2019). Flore illustrée du Tchad. Conservatoire et Jardin botaniques de Genève, Coopération Suisse & Univ. N'Djaména

Bibliography for Southern Africa :
  • Food plants of Zimbabwe : 56 (1986).
  • Énum. Pl. Fleurs Afr. Trop. 3: 107 (1995).
  • Checklist Flow. Pl. Sub-Saharan Africa : 867 (2006).
More info on :
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see under Flore d'Afrique Centrale
see under Fgui
see under The International Plant Name Index
see under Catalogue de Madagascar
see under Flora of Mozambique
see under African Plants - a Photo Guide
see under Missouri Botanical Garden
see under Flora of Zimbabwe
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Record n°42871 modified 2007-01-23
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