Tacca chantrieri, pronounced as TA-ka CHAN-tree-ay-ree, is a rare plant, also known by the names, ‘devil’s tongue’ and ‘bat plant’, due to its unusual maroon foliage with green bracts, which are said to resemble whiskers or wings.
This plant is slender with long stems and can reach heights of between 80 and 110 centimetres. It features broad leaves at the bottom and a striking brown or maroon coloured flower at the head. It favours warm and humid conditions.
The tacca plant originates from the tropical regions of West Africa and Southeast Asia and so humidity is essential for its survival. The minimum temperature required for this plant to thrive is about 18 degrees Celsius. Indirect light, frequent watering and peat soil will ensure that the tacca lives for as long as possible.
This plant’s flower will bloom from mid-summer until the beginning of autumn and this is the optimal time in which to purchase this plant. If purchasing during the growth period of spring until summer, bear in mind that the plant will require more frequent watering.
The species of this plant, chantrieri, belongs to the family taccaceae. The chantrieri is the only known variety of this genus.
The plant should be kept in a greenhouse during the winter months, as frosty conditions will inevitably kill this very delicate plant. Watering should be done through the spaces of the leaves, as well as directly on to the compost. Make sure to feed your tacca a good dose of fertiliser on a regular basis.
Did You Know?
The chemical properties of the tacca chantrieri are thought to have potential in fighting certain types of cancer and research is ongoing into their effectiveness in this regard.