White Turmeric – Curcuma zedoaria

The most beautiful bloom today is a pink flower growing out of the ground directly.

turmeric

White Turmeric (Curcuma zedoaria). AKA “Hidden Ginger”
The tuberous rhizomes are actually white (rather than orange as most turmeric)

White Turmeric (Curcuma zedoaria)

Curcuma zedoaria ‘Pink Wonder’ (Pink Wonder Hidden Cone Ginger) The foliage of this selection resembles a fancy aspidistra on steroids…6′ tall green leaves with a central burgundy stripe. The flowers on this selection emerge like pinecones on separate 1′ tall stems alongside the foliage. Curcuma ‘Pink Wonder’ was selected for inflorescences that are white at the base and bright pink on the top. (Hardiness Zone 7b-10).

AKA “Hidden Ginger”, Hidden Cone Ginger, Curcuma longa (misapplied), or Amomun zedoaria

Here are some additional photos of the plant:

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This is what the blooms looked like yesterday:

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The tuberous rhizomes are actually white (rather than orange as most turmeric).

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This photo is of the bloom starting to emerge:

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These photos are of the shoots coming out of the ground:

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From the National Tropical Botanical Gardens website, I extracted this:

Curcuma zedoaria, also known as Zedoary, is an herb that grows up to 1.2 m in height. This plant has both vertical aerial stems (pseudostems) and horizontal underground stems known as rhizomes, which allow the plant to spread so this species often grows in large clumps.
The swollen underground stems are yellow or orange colored inside and are aromatic when crushed.
Like the closely related species Turmeric (Curcuma longa), the swollen rhizome of Zedoary is edible. The rhizome is light yellow on the outside and bright yellow on the inside aging to a darker brown color. The rhizome is quite bitter, therefore it is less frequently used as a spice than Turmeric.
The rhizome of Zedoary is used extensively as a medicine largely for it bitter properties. This species was included in the American National Formulary IV under the name Zedoaria.
This publication provided instructions for the preparation of bitter tinctures, antiperiodic pills, and antiperiodic tincture. The rhizome is considered to aid digestion, to purify the blood, to provide relief for colic, and for the treatment of colds and infections. The essential oil is an active ingredient in antibacterial preparations. In India the rhizome is chewed to alter a sticky taste in the mouth, and in both Java and India a decoction of the root is used to treat weakness resulting from childbirth.
Zedoary roots were extensively exported to Europe where the oil was extracted by steam distillation and used to provide fragrance to perfumes, soaps, oils etc. The oil obtained is greenish-black with a scent that is described as similar to mango, camphor, or ginger-oil.

How to grow White Turmeric:

I extracted the following information from the Plant Delights Nursery site.

In their native habitats, Curcuma emerge during the monsoon season and are triggered to become dormant by dry weather. This roughly corresponds to the winter/summer cycle in temperate gardens. Ginger expert, Tony Schilling, says “treat them to monsoon conditions – warm, wet and well fed in the summer, and cool and dry in the winter.” If you let your Curcuma get too dry, they will lose their leaves and stop flowering. Moist, but well-drained, organically-rich, slightly acidic soils produce the best flowering. Curcuma prefer sun for at least a couple of hours, but most species will also do fine in high, open shade.

We have also found that Curcuma will perform best if lifted and divided every 5 years in order to maintain their vigor. In doing so, keep in mind that if you divide the plants when they are too small, they may not flower for a couple of years. At a minimum, leave 3-5 eyes (the creamy pointy things) per division, but more is better. Dividing is best done in spring or summer. When re-planting, place the rhizomes 4-6″ below the surface to give them some cold protection, although the rhizomes will eventually grow to the depth that best suits them.

After frost kills the tops, you may cut back the stems and compost them or leave them alone and the stems will detach from the rhizomes naturally. In climates where the Curcuma aren’t winter hardy, lift and store the rhizomes inside in a box of sawdust or peat moss (to prevent desiccation) where the temperatures stay above freezing.

Curcuma also make great potted plants, however, gardeners will need to re-pot the plants often because the thick rhizomes quickly grow large enough to split open a pot. Potted specimens require lots of water (daily or even more frequently) when they are active and root-bound.

 

 

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