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TACCA leontopetaloides

Image of Tacca leontopetaloides

Forest & Kim Starr

Family

Taccaceae

Botanical Name

TACCA leontopetaloides

Plant Common Name

Batflower, Polynesian Arrowroot

Special Notice

This entry has yet to be reviewed and approved by L2G editors.

General Description

Batflower's deeply lobed, large green leaves on fleshy stems make a dramatic backdrop to the thread-like, arching, dark reddish black flowers in spring and summer. From the Old World tropical zones of the Eastern Hemisphere, this is a dry season-dormant tender herbaceous perennial. The return of warmth in the spring finds the fleshy stemmed leaves, large and deeply lobed and a bright, glossy green, emerging from the soil. Shortly thereafter and continuing through the summer, tall green stems float above the foliage and reveal an extraordinary and alien-like flower. Dark green and nearly black bracts (modified leaves) with long, arching, thread-like appendages radiate out from the stem tip, where the small cluster of black, bell-shaped flowers modestly dangle. As the sunlight weakens and the dry season starts, the foliage slowly dries up and is gone by the winter.

Grow batflower in humusy, well-draining, moist soil that isn't alkaline. Ample warmth and watering is needed in spring and summer, but then reduced watering in winter while the dormant rhizome sleeps underground. Plant it in a partially shaded situation, and dappled sunlight is fine provided any hot summer afternoon sun does not beat down on the leaves. It can be grown in a container. Use it in a warm greenhouse in non-tropical regions.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 9

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    11 - 13

  • Sunset Zone

    H2

  • Plant Type

    Tender Perennial

  • Sun Exposure

    Partial Sun, Partial Shade

  • Height

    2'-5' / 0.6m - 1.5m

  • Width

    3'-5' / 0.9m - 1.5m

  • Bloom Time

    Early Spring, Spring, Late Spring, Early Summer, Summer

  • Native To

    Middle Africa, Southern Asia, Southeastern Asia

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Growth Rate

    Medium

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Clump-Forming

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    Burgundy, Dark Green, Black

  • Flower Color Modifier

    Bicolor

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green, Light Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Green

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Repeat Bloomer

    Yes

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    Yes

  • Foliage Texture

    Coarse

  • Foliage Sheen

    Glossy

  • Evergreen

    No

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Container, Cutflower, Feature Plant, Groundcover, Mixed Border, Tropical

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Self-Sowing

    No