s North America, Mexico, West Indies, Central America, n South America, Pacific Islands (Galapagos Islands, Hawaii, s New Guinea), n Australia.
Genus 1, species 2 (1 in the flora).
Bataceae are warm-temperate, subtropical, and tropical, coastal halophytes. Because of their proclivity to inhabit saline habitats and because of morphological similarities to halophytic members of Chenopodiaceae, early taxonomists tended to place Bataceae in the Chenopodiales (Centrospermae). The absence of betalains (T. J. Mabry and B. L. Turner 1964), dissimilarity of sieve-element plastid types (H.-D. Behnke and Turner 1971), and dissimilar chromosome numbers (P. Goldblatt 1976) rule out that relationship. Phylogeneticists now accept Bataceae as a member of Brassicales (Capparales) based on the presence of glucosinolates (Mabry 1976) and myrosinase, and molecular similarities (J. E. Rodman et al. 1998). In Brassicales, there are similarities to the Australian Gyrostemonaceae and Salvadoraceae (B. Prijanto 1970; S. Carlquist 1978; Rodman et al.).
The fruits and seeds are water-dispersed. The succulent syncarps can float for one or two weeks before releasing the one-seeded pyrenes, which also can float up to three months before germinating after reaching land (H. B. Guppy 1903–1906, vol. 2).