Cucurma longa



Turmeric originates in South East Asia the roots look very much like a lighter coloured ginger but with bright yellow flesh. It forms clump of long glossy green leaves, to 1 metre tall, beautiful, white flower spikes emerge after a year’s growth.


Cut the roots into small pieces and dry in direct sunlight or use the oven or a dehydrator, make sure that the pieces are perfectly dry and crisp. You can then store the pieces and grind as needed to make a powder.

Used both as a food colouring (it constitutes about 25% of the spices used in commercial curry powder) and flavouring for spicy foods; sometimes used as a cheaper substitute for saffron. It is widely used in curries, particularly vegetable curries, but also meat and fish dishes. The young shoots and rhizome tips are also eaten raw in some cultures.


Given drainage, moisture, warmth and fertile soils, the plants develop fast and rhizomes are harvested around 10 months after planting. It can also be planted in pots or grown in a greenhouse in cooler regions. Being from a tropical climate, it does need a frost-free conditions and lots of moisture, so supplementary watering is a must. It is also best grown in light shade.

Harvest the rhizomes about 10 months after planting or when the lower leaves start to yellow and the stems fall over. You can harvest the entire clump or just harvest bits of roots from the edges allowing the main clump to continue growing – divide these clumps about every 3 years.


It is propagated by dividing and planting the small tubers into fertile, well- drained soil.
Plant the divided roots 5-7cm deep and 30 -45cm apart in rows raised beds leaving 15 - 30cm between plants, in early to mid-spring, into warm soil.


Varieties can vary in the colour of the flesh, the time it takes to grow to maturity (7 to 9 months) and the amount of cucurmin found in the flesh.

In hot climates (including India), a variety of named cultivars are grown commercially.

Plant Health

Relatively few pests.

Roots can rot in poor drainage or shrivel if soil becomes extra dry.

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