Plant Profile: The Bat Flower (Tacca chantrieri)
With Halloween just around the corner, we can't help but think of spooky and creepy flowers and plants. So there is no better way to celebrate the occasion than by profiling one of the spookiest looking plants in the world: the Bat Flower (Tacca chantrieri (TA-ka CHAN-tree-ay-ree)). This plant can also be known as Devil Flower, Bat Head Lily, and Cat's Whiskers.
Take one look at the Bat Flower and you'll see how it got its nickname. This purple-black flower, which can grow up to 12 inches across, resembles a flying bat.
It also has distinctive, long whisker-like filaments that can grow up to 28 inches. While black bat flowers seem to be more common, there are plants that produce white or brown flowers. Though the flowers are the showstoppers, the large, dark green leaves are can be quite attractive. After flowering, berries containing numerous small seeds, are produced.
The Bat Flower is a tropical plant that is native to tropical rainforests and jungles of Southeast Asia. It is a member of the Dioscoreaceae family, which includes the yam.
While Bat Flowers are not the easiest plants to grow, they will definitely make a statement in the garden or in your home as a houseplant. As it is a tropical plant, it does best in warm climates. Those that live in cooler climates can grow this plant in a greenhouse. If you are successful, they will bloom profusely from late spring until fall. They do best in well-drained, porous soil. High humidity is essential for its survival. Plant in the shade with indirect light. Keep soil moist, but not too wet.
Climate Zones: 10-12