Vaman Turmeric
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Vaman Turmeric
P Native Photo: Joju P. Alappatt
Common name: Vaman Turmeric • Malayalam: Kunji-koova, Kattumanjal, Kuruttumanjal, Kurumanja
Botanical name: Curcuma vamana    Family: Zingiberaceae (Ginger family)
Synonyms: Curcuma peethapushpa Sasidh. & Sivar.

Vaman Turmeric is a delicate herb with conical rhizome, pseudo stem covered basally by leafless sheath. Flowers are pale yellow on short spike with prominent cup like bracts. Leafy shoot is up to 50 cm tall. Leaves are distichous, 4-5; blade 20-25 x 6-8 cm, oblong, tip tapering, base nearly equal, closely pinnately nerved, hairless; ligule small; leaf-stalk 20-30 cm long. Inflorescence is central, 15-22 cm long, on a 10-18 cm long stalk, concealed within the leaf sheaths, light green, hairless. Spike is condensed 2-4 x 2 cm, distinct coma absent; bracts 4-8, loosely arranged, about 3 x 3 cm, ovate to obovate, tip pointed, slightly recurved, each subtending 2-4 flowers. Flowers are shorter than the bracts, 1.8-2 cm long. Calyx flat, 4 mm long, deeply 3-lobed, white, hairless, persistent. Flower-tube is 8 mm long; petals almost equal, about 5 x 4 mm, hairless, yellowish-white. Lip is about 8 x 7 mm, tip notched, lobe rounded, margin crisped, golden yellow, hairy at middle. Style is long, thread-like; stigma slightly protruding above the anther. Fruit is obovoid, about 10 x 8 mm, with persistent calyx. Vaman Turmeric is endemic to Southern Western Ghats (Kerala). Flowering: May-July.

Identification credit: Joju P. Alappatt Photographed in Peechi, Thrissur distt., Kerala.

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