I honestly think that the Malaysian Devil Flower is by far the most extreme orchid I’ve seen. When you are standing in a room full of orchids it is difficult for one particular flower to grab your attention. Natural beauty, strange shapes and exotic colors surround you. It truly is a beautiful place to be.
Then you meet this monster flower tucked back on a quiet stone passage. I actually had to crop this picture to really show off the real bloom. The flower is large and the “whiskers” fall almost to touch the ground.
So, to get the petals, nodules and the tendrils hanging off this orchid in one picture I had to actually cross the path and walk down the side of the walkway a few feet to get all of it in one shot. The result was a mass of leaves and from other plants and orchids and they really detracted from the haunting beauty of this hidden gem.
As you can see, one of the eye-catching points about the Tacca Integrifolia ‘Nivea’, is it’s brilliantly white leaves found only on top of the cluster of whiskers.
Then you notice the cluster of nodules underneath those white leafs range from a very dark purplish to almost a pure black color. As your eye moves down the flower, it’s amazing to see the white tendrils coming off the main flower like the hanging tentacles of some weird kind of squid. I honestly expected this plant to be some form of carnivorous insect-eating monster.
Intriguingly, this flower has many names. It goes by the Nivea, the white bat flower, and tiger’s whiskers. It also, of course, has the more ominous name of the devil’s flower. Why the gruesome name?
According to legend, when these flowers bloom in the tropical jungles of Malaysia, they seem to be eyes that seem to follow you no matter where you go. The local natives will try to avoid them at all costs. They believe that to look into the eyes of the flower invite disaster and that person becomes cursed.
The good news is that we are probably safe from a curse. Thousands of visitors see this flower every year without any bad side effects. Although, wouldn’t it be fun to hang this in an office to see people’s reactions? It is after all, the little things that keep us going. J