Black Bat Flower
South East Asia
Tacca chantrieri, or the black bat plant, grows from underground rhizomes; and produces large-green leaves and long-stemmed flowers. The leaves can be as long as 15 inches. The flower stem develops from the base of the plant, and it can be around 24 inches long. The main attraction of this plant is its flower, which is an umbel (a flat-topped inflorescence with numerous flower stalks). Each umbel has the two bracts that are wing-like structures, which can be black, maroon-black, or purplish-black. The flower has two more small bracts located below the large ones.
Flower stalks develop from the center of the inflorescence. A single umbel may produce around 25 flower stalks. The small flowers are also black, and each of them has five petals. Apart from the flower stalks, each umbel has numerous long and trailing filaments too. The filaments can have a length of around 10 inches. The flower (including the wing-like bracts) can be around 12 inches in width. The plant can attain a maximum height of 24 to 36 inches.
Tacca chantrieri grows as an understory plant that thrives in partial shade, well-drained soil, warmth, and high humidity level. The plant prefers light shade and indirect sunlight. So, it is not advisable to keep it in full sun. If grown indoors, it can be placed near a south-facing window, where it will get bright, indirect light.
Black bat flower plants need regular watering during the growing season (late spring to late summer).The soil has to drain well, as sogginess may cause rotting of rhizomes. However, the soil has to remain moist for the plant to grow and bloom well. Make sure that the soil does not dry out completely.
The plant can be grown both on the ground and containers. Ideally use wide, shallow pots with good drainage holes. A good quality potting mix combined with some perlite may work.
During the growing season, feed the plant once in every two weeks. A general purpose fertilizer can be used for this purpose.Fertilizers meant for orchids are also fine for bat flowers. Avoid feeding the plant during its dormancy.
Tacca offers a long-lasting showy display as houseplant and in outdoor settings.