Q. Please tell me about the Bat flower in the conservatory.
The batflower plant in the NYBG conservatory is Tacca chantrieri (bat flower or cat's-whiskers) is an unusual tropical plant that gets it common names from the deep purplish-black flowers and wide wing-like bracts that resemble a bat in flight, and long appendages resembling cat's whiskers (Catbat?). In the New York City area, they can be grown in tropical glasshouses or as houseplants if grown under low light conditions and high humidity. Pot up in light, porous soil and keep moist at all times, but well-drained. It likes to grow in shady conditions in USDA zone 11.
Tacca, a genus of tropical herbs, possesses near black flowers, conspicuous involucral bracts and whisker-like filiform bracteoles. These features have been assumed to function as a “deceit syndrome” in which reproductive structures resemble decaying organic material attracting flies that facilitate cross-pollination (sapromyiophily). http://www.amjbot.org/content/92/3/517.full
Hope this is informative.