- Agriculture, Forestry & Soils
- Field crops, grasses, plant fibers, spices, tree crops, herbs
Strausbaugh, Perry D. Department of Botany, West Virginia University, Morgantown, West Virginia.
Core, Earl L. Department of Biology, West Virginia University, Morgantown, West Virginia.
- Additional Readings
A dye or a spice obtained from the plant Curcuma longa, which belongs to the ginger family (Zingiberaceae). Turmeric is a stout perennial that is native to Southeast Asia, probably originating from South India. It has a short stem, tufted leaves, and short, thick rhizomes (underground horizontal stems; see illustration), which are used to make the colorful turmeric condiment. As a natural dye, turmeric is orange–red or reddish brown, but it changes color in the presence of acids or bases. As a spice, turmeric has a decidedly musky odor and a pungent, bitter taste. It is an important item in curry, and it is used to flavor and color butter, cheese, pickles, and other foods. See also: Dye; Ginger; Spice and flavoring; Zingiberales
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