Something about this image just said masquerade mask. See the eyes peering at me?
The plant’s common name is Bat Flower—more officially Tacca chantrieri. It has also been referred to as Devil’s Flower. Or does it remind you of a cat with its 28-inch-long whiskers?
As a tropical plant, it prefers warm and humid climates. In the Yunnan Province of China it grows wild, and up to three feet high. If you happen to live in a southern moist United State you’d have the better luck domesticating a specimen.
Flower folklore has come up with various theories as to how it got its common name. Does it mimic a bat’s wings when spanned? Is it pollinated by bats? (Study has found it to be self-pollinating.) Further reading will offer that the flower’s common bat name comes from likening the drooping flowers to bats hanging from cave ceilings. I’ll go with that theory.
Nancy R. Peck