The rhizomes of the flowering plant known as turmeric, Curcuma longa, a member of the Zingiberaceae family that also includes ginger, are used in cooking. Native to the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia, the plant is a perennial, rhizomatous, herbaceous plant that needs temperatures between 20 and 30 °C (68 and 86 °F) and a sizable quantity of annual rainfall to survive. Each year, plants are harvested for their rhizomes, some for eating and others for multiplication the following season.
The primary component of turmeric, curcumin, which imparts these qualities, is used to make a bright orange-yellow powder that is frequently used as a colouring and flavouring agent in many Asian cuisines, particularly for curries. The rhizomes can also be used fresh or boiled in water and dried.