Curcuma longa rhizome

Curcuma longa rhizome

Curcuma longa or turmeric is related to ginger. Turmeric is extracted from its root, which is used in Asian cooking, as a dye and in medicine.

The rhizome starts to appear in supermarkets but you can find it at markets and exotic groceries.

Very fun to experiment with, even if it is not the most beautiful species of the genus Curcuma or Zingiberaceae family.

The plant is not hardy but can be grown in container as patioplant or as a houseplant.


Turmeric is a perennial herb of up to 1 m tall.

It has very branched rhizomes which are yellow to orange, cylindrical and aromatic.

The leaves are arranged alternately in two rows. The leaf sheaths form a pseudostem. The petiole is 50-115 cm long. The blade itself usually measures 75-115 cm, sometimes up to 230 cm long, and 35-45 cm wide. They are oblong to elliptic, narrowing at the tip

The inflorescence of 12-20 cm appears at the top of the pseudostem. It contains many flowers. The bracts are light green and oval to oblong with a blunt upper end, 3-5 cm long. Bracts at the top of the inflorescence do not contain flowers. The bracts are white to green, sometimes red-violet. The flowers are hermaphrodite and very small, 0.8-1.2 cm long. Flowering occurs in August.

The cultivated varieties are generally sterile, only the species growing in the wild have viable seeds.

The fruit is a capsule with three compartments.

Turmeric powder

Turmeric powder


Culinary: turmeric is used in Southeast Asia to the Middle East for the orange color it gives to the dish. It is also added to curry powder, margarine and other preparations. It is generally used in the form of powder: the rhizome is boiled and then dried and milled.

In medicine, it is used in traditional medicine in Asia for a range of diseases, ranging from stomach and liver problems to skin conditions and injuries. In modern medicine, it is studied for its effect on cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.

Turmeric is also used as a dye for fabrics, such as the dresses of Buddhist monks, but is not very resistant to light.

In Hindu rituals, it is considered sacred and would bring luck.


Common names:

Common turmeric, curcuma, Indian saffron, long rooted curcuma, tumeric, turmeric, yellow ginger


Curcuma domestica


Curcuma: derived from the Sanskrit name for the plant, kuṇkuma
Longa: from the Latin longus (long)


Soutern Asia


Plains in monsoon regions


USDA zones 9-10

Curcuma longa inflorescence

Curcuma longa inflorescence



Sun, partial shade


Nutritious and well drained


Keep the soil very wet during summer. In hot weather, it may be necessary to water more than once a day.


Universal liquid fertilizer once a week during growth


Rhizomes grow strongly and can burst the pot, repotting regularly will be necessary when rhizomes outgrow the pot, preferably in the spring.


By division of the rhizome when repotting. Cut the rhizome into pieces, each with at least one shoot.

Propagation by seed is rare because only wild species and some cultivars produce viable seeds and it is not easy to obtain them.