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With love and passion, everyone can have a nice garden...Elaine Yim

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Count The Garden By The Flowers, Never By The Leaves That Fall.
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..... Author unknown.

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Malaysian Flora USDA Zone 11
Welcome to our exotic world of everlasting summers and tropical rainforests!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

White Bat Lily, Tiger Whiskers, Devil's Flower - Penang Butterfly Farm Part 1

Tacca integrifolia

During my visit to Penang Butterfly Farm in December 2010, I came accross this very unique plant that has bat-shaped flowers and long flowing 'whiskers'. The plant I photographed here is a white bat lily flower. It has several white bracts lined with purple veins above the cluster of purplish black flowers. The leaves look like those of peace lilies.

The words, bizzare, extraordinary, rare flora, exotic and alien have been used to describe it and many are mesmerized by it while some others have even fallen in love with this unusual plant.


This plant can be found deep in our Malaysian jungles. Tiger Whiskers is a good environmental indicator since it is very sensitive to environmental changes and will not thrive in areas where there is pollution.

“Bat Lily, Tiger Whiskers, Devil's Flower - Penang Butterfly Farm Part 1”, a copyrighted post, was written for My Nice Garden blog by Autumn Belle @ http://www.mynicegarden.com/ on 25th February 2011.


Tacca integrifolia

Scientific name: Tacca integrifolia
Common name: Bat Lily, Bat Flower, Tiger Whiskers, Devil's Flower

Chinese name: 丝蒟蒻薯 si xu ju ruo shu (Source: Flora of China, here)
Malay name: Misai harimau, janggut adam, belimbing tanah, keladi murai, kelemoyang air (refer here).

Family: Discoreaceae / Taccaceae (yam family)
Origin: Southeast Asia e.g. Malaysia

Tacca integrifolia

The whiskers can be as long as 28 inches. The bat-shaped flowers are as wide as 12 inches across. The plant is about 4ft tall. Propagation is by division and from seeds but seed germination may take 8-12 weeks.

Tacca integrifolia

Additional notes, extracts from the book, "Tropical Exotics" by Horace Freestone Clay, James C. Hubbard, Rick Golt:
 - a jungle plant that grows best in shaded garden retreats where its large leaves are protected from damage by wind, rain or falling debris. The flowers are striking, once seen, they are not forgotten. Tacca is the vernacular name for a number of species native to the Malaysian archipelago-peninsular.

Additional information from University of Florida can be found here.


Tacca integrifolia


Anyone growing this plant in your garden?

My next post will be about the butterflies which are the star attraction at Penang Butterfly Farm, their website is here.

This is my entry for Fertilizer Friday hosted by Tootsie at Tootsietime, here.

29 comments:

  1. What an amazing flower! I have seen this in flower shows but did not know that they are sensitive to pollution.

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  2. What a gorgeously exotic flower, and beautifully photographed by you.

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  3. Very beautiful plant. I have not seen it before when I trek in the jungle must keep my eyes very open next time. Hey, Thank you so much for the gift. It arrived safely two weeks ago. But I got a bit confused because there were no name written. I am so happy.

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  4. I wish I had this beauty in my gardens. It's amazing and you shared some wonderful photos.

    FlowerLady

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  5. Indeed very exotic and uuique looking flower, never seen it before, such lovely colour too!Great shots Autumn Belle!

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  6. Unique, all look very 'alien' to me. Something different.

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  7. Would Tiger whiskers be in the same family as cat whiskers (misai kuching)? It supposed to be a native plant but it looks exotic.

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  8. That is a very unique type of flower. It reminds me of something from Alice in Wonderland or Avatar. Such wonderful photographs!

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  9. Nice shots. I got this plant in my garden last time. Give to my friends, coz she quite sensitive to some chemical fungicide and fertilizer.

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  10. Te kwiaty są prześliczne, liście też maja okazałe. Pozdrawiam z Polski

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  11. I wish I were growing this! It's so cool. I've seen pictures of it before, but none have been as good as yours. You took some very good close-ups of the flower with its long whiskers. Thanks for posting!

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  12. Ada misai harimau, misai kuching ada misai arnab tak? [Got tiger's whiskers, cat's whiskers what about rabbit's whiskers?] haha. Love your last pix phew its a beau. tQ.

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  13. Yes it is so beautiful, and i haven't seen it in person. Your close-up shot even highlighted its elegance. Maybe i've already seen it but not in bloom, as its foliage seem so familiar. Maybe i've seen it in not so favorable environment, that flowers hesitate to bloom.

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  14. I want that plant! I think it will look good in my garden. Unfortunately, if it is that sensitive to pollution, it is not likely to survive locally. What a pity! Does this mean I have to travel to Penang to see it? This pushes Penang up our family's places to visit list. We were invited a long time ago by friends but have not been until now. I'm trying to recall if I've seen this on past trips to Malaysia but it is one not easily forgotten, yes?

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  15. Stunning photos... such an interesting looking flower and plant..
    Stopping by from FF..
    Leslie

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  16. What a stunning plant the bat lily flower is - quite extraordinary and your photos of it are gorgeous!

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  17. Thank you for expanding my gardening horizons! I have never seen such unusual and spectacular plants before.

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  18. What a beautiful but unuual flower. Thanks for sharing it with us.

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  19. Hi AB, haven't seen you in a while. Yes, Ixora makes nice cut flowers.

    I am still up at 12.40am watching repeat of A. Idol. haha...

    WBL plant and flower is really exotic, thanks for introducing it to us, me, I don't recall seeing it before.

    Have a nice weekend too.

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  20. Very interesting flower. I wonder what use the whiskers have.

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  21. Such a dramatic shape, with such gentle colors - really lovely. Thanks for sharing your enjoyment of them as well. :)

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  22. girl!!!! why WHY do you do this to me every week??? NOW I THINK I NEED ONE OR MORE OF THESE!!!!!!!!
    wow....how gorgeous is this bloom....ugh...I bet I will never find one of these!
    thanks for linking in and driving me to a state of frenzy! lol
    have a great week!

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  23. what an amazing flower! I have never seen it before - I would love to have it in my shade garden! Thanks for sharing, Paula in Idaho

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  24. What an extraordinary beauty to this unique plant. I love your first photo especially. A canary in a coal mine too! I hope it is able to survive in the wild!

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  25. I've never seen this plant. Gorgeous flowers!

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  26. Lotusleaf,yeah, me too about the pollution indicator.

    Babara, Flower Lady, P3Chandan, Milka, Makarimi, Giga, Jean, Alison, Leslie, Christine, Masha, Gardening in a Sandbox, Stacey, Cina Fong, Asha, Paula, thank you very much for the encouraging comments!

    One, cat whisker is classified under Lamiaceae, a family of aromatic herb plants like basil, rosemary, etc. while this tiger whiskers is under the family Discoreacea (yam family).

    Diana, glad you found out it was me. I’m very sorry over the confusion. So silly of me to miss out the important part, haha.

    Rosey, ah yes, I have heard someone else said it reminds of Avatar too. I think it looks weird and bizarre with its elaborate flower.

    Bananaz, tiger whiskers sounds quite macho right?

    Andrea, this bat flower has been growing in our jungle for a long time but only recently it has become very popular. Perhaps its fame has spread overseas.

    Bom, Penang is a wonderful place to visit of which I never get tired of. Wishing you a nice time here in Malaysia!

    Patty, the whiskers are actually small bracts/modified leaves. I am really puzzled as to what is it used for. Perhaps it is a pathway for ants/bugs to go up to reach the flowers to help pollinate them?

    Tootsie, you are so funny and sweet!

    Carol, ‘A canary in a coal mine’. I like this phrase!

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  27. I've been away for a break, missed you AB. Good to visit you agai and see such fascinating photos of unusual plants.
    Rosie

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  28. Does anyone know where I can purchase one of these beautiful plants in KL?

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