Curcuma

Kurkuma - Curcuma (tumeric)
Kurkuma - Curcuma (tumeric)

A genus of plants in the ginger family is called curcuma (Zingiberaceae). Along with Xanthorhiza simplicissima, which is commonly known as turmeric, it lists Curcuma longa, also known as Indian turmeric, and Curcuma zanthorrhiza, also known as Curcuma xanthorrhiza, as essential spice plants. The compound curcumin, which is traditionally collected from the plant, is used in food coloring as well as a flavor carrier and a yellow dye, among other things. About 120 species are taxonomically recognized, the majority of which are from South and Southeast Asia. They are found across the tropics, from tropical Asia to northern Australia, and are commonly grown there.

Description

Vegetative characteristics


Curcuma species are herbaceous perennials. They have fat, aromatic, branching rhizomes that often have tubers attached to them. The majority of the basal stem’s leaves are lanceolate, oblong, or sporadically almost linear in shape.

Generative characteristics

Citrus root (Curcuma zedoaria) The terminal, spike-like inflorescences emerge directly from the rhizome on pseudo-shoots or distinct shoots, frequently before the development of leaves. The upright inflorescence has bracts, which frequently have a distinct color at the apex. The upper parts of the bracts broaden while the lower portions fuse together. This results in pockets that are opposed by coils of two to seven different flowers.

The tridentate flowers are hermaphrodite. The two- or three-lobed or toothed calyx, which is typically small and tubular, is divided on one side. The petals are ovate or oblong, about equal in length or with a noticeably bigger center petal, and the tips are prominently acuminate. The corolla is funnel-shaped. The base of the outer staminodes, which resemble crown leaves and are fused with the stamens and labellum, is curved similarly. The labellum is made up of an outer, narrower lobe that partially encircles the staminodes and an interior, thicker portion. Short and wide filaments are present. The multiform anthers are typically spurred at the base.

The trifoliolate, typically ellipsoid capsule fruit bursts open when it is ripe.

Use

Given that it is used to create the well-known cooking spice, turmeric (Curcuma longa) is undoubtedly the most well-known of the around 120 species that make up the genus. A decorative plant from Southeast Asia is called Curcuma alismatifolia. The plant, Curcuma mangga, is used in South Indian cuisine and is pickled, however Valeton & van Zijp’s description and subsequent species status are now not recognized.