Genus:
Curcuma L.

Curcuma caulina J.Graham

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).

[KSP]

Kew Species Profiles

General Description

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.

Species Profile
Geography and distribution

Curcuma caulina is restricted to the state of Maharashtra in southwestern India. It is also widely cultivated (for the production of arrowroot starch) in some parts of Goa, Diu, Daman, Dadra and Nagar Haveli.

Description

Overview: An annual herb reaching a height of 50-120 cm. Numerous tubers, each about the size of an orange with white flesh and covered with fibrous roots, develop under the perennial rhizomes (underground stems).

Leaves: Up to 50 cm long, narrow at the base, with prominent veins.

Flowers: Yellow or white, 10-15 cm long, borne in a spike, with prominent greenish-white or pinkish-white bracts.

Threats and conservation

Indian arrowroot is listed as Vulnerable (VU) according to IUCN Red List criteria. Threats to the native, endemic-rich flora of the high elevation plateaus of Maharashtra include grazing, soil erosion, mining for iron and aluminium ores, tourism and private land development.

Conservation assessments carried out at Kew

Curcuma caulin a is being monitored as part of the IUCN Sampled Red List Index for Plants project, which aims to produce conservation assessments for a representative sample of the world's plant species. This information will then be used to monitor trends in extinction risk and help focus conservation efforts where they are needed most.

Uses

The tubers of Indian arrowroot yield a white, edible starch that is used as a substitute for arrowroot (a starch normally obtained from Maranta arundinacea or Curcuma angustifolia ). The tubers are harvested and scraped, washed, and then rubbed on a grater to produce a pulp. The pulp is washed with cold water, allowed to settle, and then washed again. The whole process is repeated until the sediment is pure white. It is then sun-dried and allowed to harden into a cake, which is then ground to a powder for use.

This species at Kew

Pressed and dried specimens of other species of Curcuma are held in Kew's Herbarium, where they are available to researchers from around the world, by appointment. The details of some of these can be seen online in Kew's Herbarium Catalogue.

Distribution
India
Ecology
Mixed deciduous forest.
Conservation
Vulnerable (VU) according to IUCN Red List criteria.
Hazards

None known.

[KSP]
Use
Food.

Native to:

India

English
Indian arrowroot

Curcuma caulina J.Graham appears in other Kew resources:

Date Reference Identified As Barcode Type Status Has image?
Mar 1, 2004 Talbot, W.A. [s.n.], India K000496042 Unknown type material No
Oct 5, 2003 Skornickova, J. [84178], India K000496047 Unknown type material No
Cooke, T. [s.n.], India K000496044 Unknown type material No
Cooke, T. [s.n.], India K000496046 Unknown type material No
Cooke [s.n.], India K000496043 Unknown type material No

First published in Cat. Pl. Bombay: 210 (1839)

Accepted by

  • Škornicková, J.L., Sída, O. & Marhold, K. (2010). Back to types! Towards stability of names in Indian Curcuma L. (Zingiberaceae) Taxon 59: 269-282.

Not accepted by

  • Govaerts, R. (1999). World Checklist of Seed Plants 3(1, 2a & 2b): 1-1532. MIM, Deurne. [Cited as Hitchenia caulina.]

Literature

Kew Species Profiles

  • Cooke, T. (1908). Curcuma caulina. In: The Flora of the Presidency of Bombay, Volume 2, pp. 734. Taylor and Francis, London.
  • Kay, D. E. (1987). Root Crops. Tropical Development and Research Institute, London.
  • Lisboa, J. C. (1887). Notes on Mahableshwar and other Indian arrowroot-yielding plants. Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society 2:140–147.
  • Rommand-Monnier, F. (2009). Curcuma caulina. Assessment using IUCN Categories and Criteria 3.1 (IUCN 2001). Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
  • World Checklist of Selected Plant Families (2010). The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

Kew Backbone Distributions

  • Škornicková, J.L., Sída, O. & Marhold, K. (2010). Back to types! Towards stability of names in Indian Curcuma L. (Zingiberaceae) Taxon 59: 269-282.

  • Herbarium Catalogue Specimens

  • Kew Backbone Distributions

    The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2022. Published on the Internet at http://www.ipni.org and http://apps.kew.org/wcsp/
    © Copyright 2017 World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0

  • Kew Names and Taxonomic Backbone

    The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2022. Published on the Internet at http://www.ipni.org and http://apps.kew.org/wcsp/
    © Copyright 2017 International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0

  • Kew Species Profiles

    Kew Species Profiles
    http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0