White Bat Flower
Tacca integrifolia Ker Gawl. is the correct and accepted scientific name for the White Bat Flower. It was named and described by John Bellenden Kew Gawler in Botanical Magazine in 1812.
Tacca J.R.Forst. & G.Forst. is the correct and accepted scientific name for the genus. It was named and described by Johann Reinhold Forster and Johann Georg Adam Forster in the 2nd edition of Characteres Generum Plantarum in 1776. J.R. is the father of Georg.
Plants of the World Online by Kew currently lists 16 accepted species of Tacca.
I bought my White Bat Flower from Wellspring Gardens as a starter plant in the spring of 2012. I also bought a Black Bat Flower as well as many other plants. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to purchase some very interesting plants. Starter plants are much less expensive although it may take them longer to grow. That way you can gain more experience even though it is sometimes a pain.
Family: Dioscoreaceae (Formerly in the Taccaceae family)
Origin: See below and on POWO.
Zones: USDA Zone 10A-12 (30 to 45° F)
Size: Up to 48”
Light: Light shade
Soil: Well-drained, consistently moist.
Flowers can grow up to 12” wide with whiskers up to 24” long or more. Flowers late spring through summer. They need bright light to flower but keep them from direct sun. Some information suggests they don’t flower until they are 2-3 years old. I bought mine as a starter plant and it flowered the same year.
The White Bat Flower can grow up to 48” tall and its lance-shaped leaves can grow to around 24” long or more x 8” wide.
Plants of the World Online shows a distribution map where this species is native to Assam, Bangladesh, Borneo, Cambodia, East Himalaya, India, Jawa, Laos, Malaya, Myanmar, Pakistan, Sumatra, Thailand, Tibet, and Vietnam. Not sure about the spelling for Jawa and Sumatera. They could have accidentally misspelled Java and Sumatra. Jawa and Sumatera are also locations in the same area. The Wikipedia also lists other countries.
Tacca needs a lot of humidity, especially if grown as a houseplant, and especially over the winter. Mist, use a humidifier, or a pebble tray.
Repot each spring in fresh potting mix. It doesn’t like crowded roots. Divide rhizomes when repotting and give them their own pot.
Although they like their soil consistently moist, they do not like soggy soil. Make sure their soil is well-draining because to wet a soil will cause their rhizomes to rot.
Information online says they prefer a steady temperature of 65-70 degrees F year round. Mine did perfectly fine, and flowered, outside in Mississippi when the temperature was in the 90’s and even over 100 for days on end.
Information online also says to feed every two weeks with a 10-20-10 fertilizer diluted at half strength. I used Miracle Grow Potting Soil with added organic matter. Do not feed during the winter. Well, if you use Miracle Grow or a potting soil with timed release fertilizer in the spring, it only lasts for 6 months anyway.
Information online says the White Flower isn’t as easy to grow as the Black Bat Flower. I found that to be true and many times I thought it would die.
After I sold the mansion in Mississippi, I moved back to the family farm in mid-Missouri in February 2013. I gave up around 200 plants including both of my Bat Flowers.
I hope you enjoyed this page and maybe found it useful. If you have any comments, questions or suggestions, I would like to hear from you. Please click on “like” if you visited this page. It helps us bloggers stay motivated. 🙂 You can check out the links below for further reading. The links take you directly to the genus and species of this plant.