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Curcuma domestica—photo courtesy Baker Creek Seed.


(KER-cue-ma doe-MESS-tee-ka)




FAMILY: Zingiberaceae


TYPE: Tender perennial


LOCATION: Full sun


PLANTING: Grow from rhizomes and set out in the spring.


HEIGHT: 24 to 30 inches


SPREAD: 18 to 24 inches


FINAL SPACING: 24 inches


BLOOM/FRUIT: Interesting yellow flowers with pink bracts in summer.


Curcuma longa


GROWTH HABITS/CULTURE: Large 6-8 inches wide leaves with maroon band on both sides of the mid rib and aromatic rhizomes. It grows in clumps and tends to spread. It is a tropical herb that looks like ginger or a small banana plant and has exotic yellow and purple flowers.


PROBLEMS: Freezes if not protected. Few if any insect problems.


HARVEST/STORAGE: Dig and store the bright orange roots late summer or fall.


CULINARY USES: Flavor for pickles, rice, and soups. Used to give yellow color to curry powders.


MEDICINAL USES: Anti-inflammatory. Tea from roots is used to treat cancer and arthritis. Turmeric inhibits blood clotting and metabolizes fats according to Dr. Judy Griffin, author of Mother Nature’s Herbal.


LANDSCAPE USES: Use as an annual for interesting texture and dramatic flowers.


OTHER USES: Ornamental potted plant. Yellow dye plant.


INSIGHT: Turmeric is a tender ginger. It is used for yellow color to rice and other foods. The powdered root is sometimes sold as fake saffron for a much lesser price.


Tumeric from the market, planted in the garden, will withstand temperatures down to about 10 degrees.


   Turmeric photos by listener Connie Kerr

  From Connie Kerr: "This picture shows the turmeric root that I started
  with. Note the little nodules on the rhizome – I soaked this in water and put in very wet soil."





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