Definition of curcuma in US English:



  • A tropical Asian plant of a genus that includes turmeric, zedoary, and other species that yield spices, dyes, and medicinal products.

    Genus Curcuma, family Zingiberaceae

    • ‘Remember that curcumas do not emerge from dormancy until June… they are not dead!’
    • ‘We have imported a number of varieties from Asia: alpinias, costus, curcumas and hedychiums.’
    • ‘Most curcumas do well in a shady or diffused light location on the landscape or as a patio plant in a decorative container.’
    • ‘The curcumas of the ginger family are natives of tropical Asia.’
    • ‘Extracted from the roots of the curcuma longa plant, curcumin is a member of the ginger family.’


Modern Latin, from Arabic kurkum ‘saffron’, from Sanskrit kuṅkuma (so named because the colour of the spices resembles that of saffron).