Believed to have originated in India, turmeric is grown throughout
tropical Asia for its bright orange rhizomes, which apart from their
mildly spicy flavor are valued as a food coloring, providing a
substitute for the very expensive saffron.
It is also used for dyeing cloth.
The broadly lance-shaped, bright green leaves can form large clumps
up to about 3 ft (1 m) tall in hot areas.
Short, dense spikes of pale yellow flowers are produced in summer.
The fresh or dried roots provide color and pungent fragrance to
chutneys, pickles and curries; it is harvested when the foliage
begins to dry off .
Cultivation: In the tropics grow in a well-tilled garden bed in
moderately fertile soil.
Plant rhizomes or tubers late in the dry season and water frequently
when new leaves appear.
Harvest turmeric rhizomes when leaves show signs of dying back.