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Tacca chantrieri ‘Green Isle’, alias bat flower

A clever seller, this Myanmar lady at the border market. She quickly responds to my puzzled look at her obscure cuttings and pulls out pictures of the full-grown plants: mesmerizing species of Tacca.
“Madam, this is the white one,” she says, holding up a cutting. In the picture it looks magnificent, larger and flashier than the black variety in my garden. My hesitation dwindles. “I’ll give it a try,” I answer, unconvinced yet hopeful.
Nine months later a bud appears. In a few days, the stalk rises high above the leaves, and reveals its real identity: green!


September 2017, by Karolien Bais


Flora

Plants can be equally striking for their smell or stench, their stubbornness or benevolence, their secrecy or exuberance. Whatever their features, they can make my day.
Here are some of my doozies.


Amherstia nobilis, alias Pride of Burma


Dendrobium crumenatum, alias pigeon orchid


Gloriosa superba, alias juju lily


Eucharis grandiflora, alias Amazon lily


Murraya koenigii, alias curry leaf


Scadoxus multiflorus, alias blood lily


Rothmannia longiflora, alias ivory trumpet


Furcraea selloa, alias false agave


Tacca chantrieri, alias bat flower