Curcuma is the name of a genus of flowering plants. It is part of the Zingiberaceae family. The genus of tuberous rhizomes originates in tropical areas of South Asia. Approximately 80 different species are within the Curcuma plant family. Some commonly known Curcuma plants include the Siam tulip and turmeric. The name "Curcuma" is extracted from the Arabic word "kurkum," which means "turmeric."
Since the Curcuma genus was discovered in 1753 by the Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus, approximately 130 different species have been noted. However, there are only 80 accepted species. Some well-known species include Curcuma albiflora, Curcuma decipiens, Curcuma coerulea, Curcuma malabarica, Curcuma mutabilis, Curcuma reclinata, Curcuma petiolata, Curcuma sylvatica, Curcuma zedoaroides and Curcuma sichuanensis.
Curcuma flowers are perennial plants that have attractive appearances. They are related to ginger and have ornamental foliage. The flowers of Curcuma grow to be between 3 and 5 feet in height, and are shaped similarly to trumpets. The rhizomes are lightly fragrant and produce leaves shaped like lances.
Due to the pleasant appearance of the Curcuma flower, it is commonly used as an ornamental plant. The plants are ideal as container plants, and oftentimes the flowers will come up before the foliage does. Certain species of Curcuma plants also make suitable cut flowers. The flowers are also commonly used in landscapes due to their vibrant color and texture.
Curcuma plants can be planted between the months of February and June. The soil must be well-drained. They can thrive under different light and warmth situations. Generally speaking, however, Curcuma plants thrive in light shade. Only for certain species is full sun necessary. The perennials prefer climates that are both warm and wet. Although they require moisture at all times during the cultivation period, it is important to not over water them. Some types can also handle frost.
Diseases and Pests
In general, Curcuma plants do not experience an abundance of diseases and pests. However, the most problematic issues that could arise for Curcumas include the diseases rhizome rot and leaf spot--and pests such as nematodes, sucking insects, leaf-eating insects and shoot-borers.