Tacca integrifolia
Common Name: bat plant 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Dioscoreaceae
Native Range: Asia
Zone: 10 to 12
Height: 2.00 to 4.00 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 2.00 feet
Bloom Time: July to September
Bloom Description: Purple-red to brown
Sun: Part shade to full shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: High
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Evergreen
Other: Winter Interest
Tolerate: Heavy Shade

Culture

Winter hardy to USDA Zones 10-12 where it is best grown in acidic, consistently moist, fertile, well-drained soils in part shade to full shade. This is a rainforest plant which tolerates some filtered or sundappled conditions, but dislikes direct sun particularly during the heat of the day. Thrives in moist, hot and humid conditions with good air circulation. Intolerant of frost. Needs consistent moisture. Mist foliage if needed. Slightly reduce watering in winter. Where not winter hardy, plants may be grown indoors in containers as houseplants. Place containers in humid areas of the home (humidifier and/or misting may be needed). Indoor plants are best in bright indirect light near windows, but with no direct sun. Containers may be brought outdoors in summer, but should be brought back indoors in fall when temperatures begin to dip to the area of 45 degrees F. Propagate by division or seed.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Tacca integrifolia, commonly known as bat plant or bat flower, is a rhizomatous evergreen perennial that is native to rainforests in Southeast Asia, India and southern China. It typically grows to 2-4' tall, and features unique and unusually showy blooms. Purple-red to brown flowers bloom in summer in umbels (up to 30 flowers per umbel) on scapes rising to 3' long. Each umbel is surrounded by 4 large involucral bracts, with the top two bracts (to 6-8" wide) being showy white with purple tinting. Whisker-like (filiform) bracts to (8-12" long) droop downward from the flower umbels. Flowering structure as a whole reportedly resembles a bat, hence the common name. Oblong-ovate to linear-lanceolate dark green leaves to 24" long and 10" wide.

Genus name comes from the Indonesian name, taka.

Specific epithet means with entire or uncut leaves.

Problems

Susceptible to gray mold. Watch for snails and slugs. Spider mites may appear.

Garden Uses

Ornamental noted for unusual flowers and showy foliage.