Curcuma angustifolia Roxb., Asiat. Res. 11: 338 1810. ;
Uttarakhand to Indo-China: Assam, Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Thailand, Vietnam, West Himalaya; Introduced into: China Southeast as per POWO;
Common name: East Indian Arrowroot, Bombay arrowroot • Hindi: Tikhur तिखुर • Bengali: Keturi halodhi • Manipuri: য়াইপন Yaipan • Marathi: Tavakeera, Tavakhira, Tavakila • Malayalam: Koova, Kuva-kizhanna • Tamil: Ararutkilangu, Kua, Ararut-kizhangu • Kannada: Koove-hittu • Telugu: Ararut-gaddalu • Sanskrit: Tavakshira
Curcuma angustifolia is one of over 80 species belonging to the Curcuma genus, in the family Zingiberaceae (which also contains plants such as ginger and turmeric). This species is native to the Indian subcontinent and is more commonly known as wild or East Indian Arrowroot or narrow-leaved turmeric in English, and is called yaipan in Manipuri, “tikhur” in Hindi,”Koova” in Malayalam. While this species has been gradually increasing in popularity in the Western hemisphere for its medicinal potential, it is no stranger to the Eastern hemisphere where it plays an integral role in many Eastern cultures.
Curcuma angustifolia is rhizomatous herb. It is a perennial and a flowering plant, with modest and small spiked inflorescences of three or four yellow, funnel-shaped flowers within tufts of pink terminal bracts (coma bracts). The bracts are boat-shaped and encase the entire perianth of the flower. As is common to the genus, the flowers of C. angustifolia have double anthers, a slender style, and a globular stigma. Flowers are usually seen at the beginning of the monsoon (rainy) season from July to August, before the leaves have had the chance to fully develop, and they continue to flower even after the leaves have fully developed. The calyx of the flower is usually 1 centimeter long and very hairy, with 3 lobes that may appear to be triangular or obtuse. The corolla is white, and usually grows to be about 1.5 to 2 centimeters long with glabrous lobes that are also hairy. Seeds are a reddish-brown color.
Leaves are typically simple, green, glabrous, and lanceolate, with margins that are entire. They appear in an opposite arrangement and are deciduous. They display fine parallel venation off of a central midrib. The upper surface of the leaves are usually a darker shade of green than the lower surfaces. Leaves may grow to about 36–37 cm length and 8–10 cm in width. The leaves also smell and taste similar to turmeric.
Of great significance to C. angustifolia is its strong rhizome, which can grow to be up to 1.5 meters in length. The rhizome of this plant is the primary source of its nutritive and medicinal properties. C. angustifolia also uses its rhizome to reproduce asexually via vegetative propagation.
The plant in its entirety typically grows to be from three to four feet in height.
Curcuma angustifolia requires specific environmental conditions which may places in India provide, thus making it an ideal host country. The species requires temperatures at or above 34 degrees Fahrenheit. It prefers shady areas and grows best in moist soil that is sandy, pebbly, or loamy. As such, C. angustifolia is often found at the edges or in the clearings of forests.
This species of plant is of great nutritional value, especially as a source of starch for Indian foods and medicines. The rhizomes of Curcuma angustifolia are typically ground into a flour, which can then be mixed together with milk or water to form a nutritious meal. This flour was a common commercial crop in the 1800s.
Most importantly, the West has begun to notice its potential as a source of nutrition and as a non-irritating diet for patients suffering from specific chronic ailments, recovering from fevers, or experiencing irritations of the gastrointestinal tract, the lungs, or the excretory system. A drink including C. angustifolia as an ingredient is also used as a replacement of breast-milk, or as a nutritional supplement for babies a short while after weaning.
The rhizomes of Curcuma angustifolia can be used on the external surface of the body, as well as internally to promote healing. It can be used to heal peptic ulcers, is beneficial is treatments of dysentery, diarrhea, and colitis, and is often employed as an herbal tonic for patients suffering from tuberculosis. It is also used to sooth coughs, and as such is used to treat bronchitis.
Essential oils from C. angustifolia have been extracted and are used in antifungal medications. Compounds in the leaves of this plant have also been shown to have potential as antibacterial agents.
In addition, scientists have extracted the starches within the flour produced by the ground rhizomes of C. angustifolia and compared it to corn starch. Its binding and disintegration properties make it a viable, and perhaps superior, substitute for cornstarch as an excipient in medicinal tablets.
(From Wikipedia on 6.9.14)
Curcuma species id requested : 23 posts by 5 authors. Attachments (4) – around 500 kb each.
Please help to identify this Curcuma species.
From Hamirpur, Himachal Pradesh
Altitude – 800meters
Dated – 15June2018
Where it is collected and any leaf and rhizome photos?
Thanks …, I will post the leaves and rhizome images soon near mid July as I am currently out of station.
Sir here are the images of leaves and rhizome.
Photographed today morning
Attachments (4) – 1 Mb each.
Id still pending
your original flower pictures were spectacular.
recent pictures show kinda show a small white flower: is it the same plant?
did you mark it somehow so that you may take pictures of the emerging leaves of the the same rhizome that had flowered first? or are these different ones in the same field?
… the images are of same plant species as its had flowered a month before but now inflorescence has dried up and thus is faded (white) also earlier I have photographed it along the soil surface(so it seems larger).
good, i like that you are careful. so you are a serious botanist? now we wait for experts
This is a great case. it underlines the fact that careful botanical identification and nomenclature is soooo very important. its a story of arrowroot. arrowroot by many names. since arrowroot is used in cooking all over the world, i looked it up. and culinary books are of not much help.
… says the plant in this case is Curcuma angustifolia with its distinctive flowers and flowering habit where flowers came out first before … found the leaves sprouting. Thank you …
their roots are short stocky per this utube.
(quite different from culinary use all over the world. the spice: arrowroot, see below).)
I thought arrowroot powder my mom used in the kitchen was Maranta arundinacea. i find it is called west indian arrowroot. the roots look very different and here too. and to confuse the arrowroot story, there is Queensland arrowroot sometimes called just Arrowroot
which is Canna edulis
all their leaves look more or less similar. flowers are different, roots, tubers are different and so is taste and culinary uses in real life.
Curcuma zedoaria ??
Thanks, … Identified as Curcuma angustifolia by …
Can be Curcuma angustifolia of Zingiberaceae
Thanks, … Yes, identified so by …
Araceae, Arecaceae and Zingiberaceae Fortnight: Zingiberaceae- Curcuma angustifolia from Himachal-GSG (AUG14) : 2 posts by 2 authors. Attachments (1).
Curcuma angustifolia from Himachal [Jogindernagar, Dist. Mandi; 1400 m asl].
Yes sir, It is Curcuma angustifolia.
Curcuma sp : 8 posts by 2 authors. Attachments (1)
I wanted to confirm the species, is it C. angustifolia?
No. Please check with C. aromatica. Leaf and rhizome nature and colour are needed.
Sir, attaching the image of the rhizome although not a good one. Could not find proper image of leaf.
May be Curcuma angustifolia or east indian arrow root