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Curcuma caulina (Indian arrowroot)

A tall herb from southwestern India, Indian arrowroot is cultivated for its tubers, which are an important source of starch in times of food scarcity.
Curcuma caulina (Indian arrowroot) flowers

Curcuma caulina (Indian arrowroot) (Photo: Dr Sachin A. Punekar, Biospheres)

Species information

Scientific name: 

Curcuma caulina J.Graham

Common name: 

Indian arrowroot, arrowroot lily (English); chavar (Marathi); tikhur (Hindi)

Conservation status: 

Vulnerable (VU) according to IUCN Red List criteria.

Habitat: 

Mixed deciduous forest.

Key Uses: 

Food.

Known hazards: 

None known.

Taxonomy

Subclass: 
Superorder: 
Lilianae
Order: 
Zingiberales
Family: 
Zingiberaceae
Genus: Curcuma

About this species

Curcuma caulina is a tall, annual herb that is endemic to the state of Maharashtra in southwestern India. It is used to produce arrowroot (a starch normally obtained from Maranta arundinacea or Curcuma angustifolia).

A genus within the ginger family (Zingiberaceae), Curcuma contains nearly 100 species, including turmeric (Curcuma longa), the underground stems of which are the source of the bright yellow spice. The name Curcuma comes from the Arabic kurkum meaning turmeric.

Synonym: 

Hitchenia caulina (J.Graham) Baker

Genus: 
Curcuma

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