Curcuma L.

From the Arabic kurkum – yellow referring to the yellow dye extracted from C. longa, turmeric.

Plants to 2 m tall, rhizome generally with tubers. Leaf shoots tufted. Flower cluster terminal on a shoot that may be leafy or not. Bracts coloured and with pouches, each bract with 2-7 flowers. Flower with a lip thickened in the centre. Lateral sterile stamens petaloid. Anther versatile and crested. Ovary 3-chambered with a thin-walled capsule.

A genus that is widely grown, introduced and naturalised throughout the tropics.

Division of the rhizome.

C. longa is the source of the spice turmeric. C. zedoaria has also been widely cultivated in SE Asia for many years.

Flower clusters condensed and with overlapping bracts; lateral sterile stamens large and petal-like, the bracts united at the sides to form pouches.

40-50 species from western India to the South Pacific but many introduced elsewhere. 1 species native to Australia and 1 naturalised.

Source: Spencer, R. (2005). Zingiberaceae. In: Spencer, R.. Horticultural Flora of South-eastern Australia. Volume 5. Flowering plants. Monocotyledons. The identification of garden and cultivated plants. University of New South Wales Press.

kingdom Plantae
phylum   Tracheophyta
class    Magnoliopsida
superorder     Lilianae
order      Zingiberales
family       Zingiberaceae
Higher taxa
Subordinate taxa
species         Curcuma longa L.