Curcuma domestica Valet, Curcuma rotunda Curcuma longa
CAPE YORK TURMERIC (Curcuma australasica)
Part of the ginger family (Zingiberaceae) this flowering perennial is a broad leaf tropical looking plant, about 1 metre in height, producing a spectacular flower stem in summer.
DOMESTIC TURMERIC has small yellow flowers and striking white bracts.
CAPE YORK TURMERIC is beautiful Australian native turmeric with small yellow flowers and striking hot pink bracts.
Favourite Growing Conditions
Full sun with slight afternoon shade suits these plants they thrive in temperate to semi tropical conditions and will slowly spread to form large clumps unless thinned in winter.
A mature root will have several branches or fingers to it. You can cut these apart to start a plant from each if you wish. Select a fresh rhizome finger or root and plant it under 10-15cm (2 inches) of loose, damp potting soil. If there are any knobs or buds turn it so they are facing upwards. Keep the soil damp but not wet and shoots will appear after about a month. Turmeric can be grown indoors in a large container about 30cm deep.
Feed with mature compost during the growing period and mulch around the plants during spring and summer to keep their soil damp. In temperate zones the plants will die back in winter and need less water. Pollination is not required
The root Rhizoma Curcumae is harvested (when the foliage dies back) in the winter and is used in food to add a brilliant yellow colour. In the fresh state, the rhizome has aromatic and spicy scents of orange or ginger and is tasty raw. Try to eat fresh, if storing the root the flavour changes to earthy and less pleasant.
It is propagated by cuttings from the root.
Ground Turmeric comes from fingers which extend from the root. It is boiled or steamed and then dried, and ground. When drying the rhizome the flavour changes again to a more pungent, bitter flavour with medicinal aroma. Similarly, the colour and flavour of ground turmeric tends to fade if the spice is stored too long.
Turmeric is one of the best-researched herbs for pharmacological effects beneficial for health. Turmeric helps the body detoxify by stimulating bile production from the gallbladder and helping to cleanse and protect the liver. Because of its assistance to the body’s detoxifying methods, turmeric is often used to help treat acne, arthritis, heavy metal toxicity, high cholesterol etc.