|Monday Melange: Bat Flower|
|Written by Heleigh Bostwick Monday, 31 October 2011|
Monday’s edition of The Daily Dirt is always dedicated to plants native to the US, but today I’m making an exception. Ever since I first heard of this plant from a reader in South Florida last year, I’ve been waiting to use it during Halloween week. So here’s the exception: The “Black” Bat Flower. With its dark, purple-black color, from certain angles this unusual flower bears an uncanny resemblance to a bat.
Hardy in USDA zone 11, bat flower (Tacca chantrierei) is native to the forests of Southeast Asia. There’s also a white bat flower (T. integrifolia ). Bat flower is a member of the Tacca plant family (Taccaceae) and has a few other common names including cat’s whiskers and Devil flower. The “wings” are actually bracts surrounding the 5-petaled flowers (shown here as green buds and dark purple buds) as are the “whiskers” that can grow as long as 12 inches in length.
This unusual plant can also be grown outdoors in the US in the warmer parts of the country or as a houseplant, much like an orchid. Taccas bloom in late summer and early fall and grow to a height of about 20 inches and prefer shade, consistently moist soils, good air circulation, humidity, and temperatures above 55 degrees F. Taccas can be grown from seed or propagated by dividing the rhizomes.
Photo source: wikimedia.org
Happy Birthday Andres!