Curcuma is a genus of about 100 accepted species in the family Zingiberaceae that contains such species as turmeric and Siam tulip. They are native to Southeast Asia, southern China, the Indian Subcontinent, New Guinea and northern Australia. Some species are reportedly naturalised in other warm parts of the world such as tropical Africa, Central America, Florida, and various islands of the Pacific, Indian and Atlantic Oceans.[2][3][4][5][6][7]

Curcuma zedoaria - Köhler–s Medizinal-Pflanzen-048.jpg
Curcuma zedoaria
1896 illustration[1]
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Monocots
Clade: Commelinids
Order: Zingiberales
Family: Zingiberaceae
Subfamily: Zingiberoideae
Tribe: Zingibereae
Genus: Curcuma
  • Kua Rheede ex Medic.
  • Erndlia Giseke
  • Stissera Giseke 1792, illegitimate homonym not Heist. ex Fabr. 1759
  • Hitcheniopsis (Baker) Ridl.
  • Paracautleya R.M.Sm.
Curcuma euchroma
Curcuma inodora
A. Bernecker: Curcuma longa

The name comes from the Sanskrit kuṅkuma, referring to turmeric. Turmeric has been used in India since ancient times as a substitute for saffron and other yellowish pigments.[8] Since assembly of the genus Curcuma by Linnaeus in 1753, about 130 species have been described so far. Some of the species descriptions are without Latin diagnosis or type specimen, therefore the legitimacy of many species is unclear. An overview about the taxonomical classification along with citation of the most relevant literature of Curcuma species can be found at Wikispecies .



  1. ^ Franz Eugen Köhler, Köhler's Medizinal-Pflanzen
  2. ^ a b Kew World Checklist of Selected Plant Families
  3. ^ Flora of China v 24 p 359, 姜黄属 jiang huang shu, Curcuma Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 1: 2. 1753.
  4. ^ Raju, V.S., Reddy, C.S. & Ragan, A. (2006). Curcuma L. (Zingiberaceae) in Andhra Pradesh: a preliminary study. Journal of Economic and Taxonomic Botany 30: 773-775.
  5. ^ Sirirugsa, P., Larsen, K. & Maknoi, C. (2007). The genus Curcuma L. (Zingiberaceae): distribution and classification with reference to species diversity in Thailand. Gardens' Bulletin Singapore 59: 203-220.
  6. ^ Leong-Skornicková, J., Sída, O., Wijesundara, S. & Marhold, K. (2008). On the identity of turmeric: the typification of Curcuma longa L. (Zingiberaceae). Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 157: 37-46.
  7. ^ Škornicková, J.L., Sída, O. & Marhold, K. (2010). Back to types! Towards stability of names in Indian Curcuma L. (Zingiberaceae). Taxon 59: 269-282.
  8. ^ Tawney, C. H. (1924). The Ocean of Story, chapter 104. p. 13.
  9. ^ "Leonid crocus (Curcuma leonidii) – a new species discovered in Bu Gia Map National Park in Binh Phuoc province". Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology. Retrieved 2014-05-03.
  10. ^ Tan, Yun-Hong; Zhang, Zhong-Lian; Li, Hai-Tao; Ding, Hong-Bo; Zhang, Li-Xia (2019-03-11). "Curcuma tongii , a new species of Curcuma subgen. Ecomatae (Zingiberaceae) from southern Yunnan, China". Phytotaxa. 395 (3): 241–247. doi:10.11646/phytotaxa.395.3.9. ISSN 1179-3163.