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Edible parts - Rhizome, Root, Leaves as condiment, Herb, Spice, Flowers

A herb in the ginger family which continues growing from year to year. For harvesting it is grown as an annual crop. It grows up to 1 m high and spreads to 50 cm across. The stem is erect. Under the ground it has bright orange fattened stem or rhizome. These have a sweet smell. The main fattened part is about 5-8 cm long by 1-5 cm across. It has thinner branches off it. These are thickened with secondary tubers. The leaves are in a cluster and have leaf stalks that clasp the stem. The leaves are sword shaped and have long leaf stalks. Leaves are long, flat and bright green. The flowers are dull yellow. They occur in clusters of 3
-5. Normally the cultivated turmeric is a sterile triploid plant which does not bear fruit.

It is a tropical plant. It is widespread in coastal areas up to 1000 m altitude in the Philippines. It needs a hot moist climate and a well drained soil. The soil needs to be loose for good rhizomes. Plants can grow in the shade but the yield is lower. Plants are drought and frost tender. It needs a temperature above 13°C. It suits hardiness zones 10-11. In Sichuan and Yunnan.