Curcuma longa

Orden: Order: Zingiberales

Familia: Family: Zingiberaceae

Género: Genus: Curcuma

Especie: Species: Longa

Nombres comunes: Common names: Saffron from India, guisador, turmeric, zafrán.

Parte de la planta que se usa para el pigmento: Part of the plant used for pigment: Root tubers

Color: Yellow

Cúrcuma pigment on paper. 102 x 68 cm

Herbarium. Dried Cúrcuma leaves, sewn on rice paper.
77 x 57 cm. 2013

Monotype on rice paper made from the dried Cúrcuma leaves.
100 x 65 cm. 2013.



Cúrcuma. Leticia, Colombia, 2011.

Descripción general

General Description

Herbaceous plant that grows up to one meter in height. It is dark green elongated leaves stem from the base of the plant. The flowers, white to light yellow, are grouped on a circular pin that originates from the center of the plant. Recognized for its underground root system (rhrizome), brown on the outside and intense yellow orange inside, similar to ginger.

Cúrcuma. Leticia, Colombia, 2011.

Distribución geográfica
e historia natural

Geographic Distribution
and Natural History

Originally found in tropical Asia. It has been domesticated in multiple regions of the world, including numerous areas of tropical America. It grows in different environments, usually dry and wet areas of warm climate regions.

Grating the Cúrcuma to extract the pigment. Leticia, Colombia, 2011.



Cúrcuma has been used in India for 4,000 years as a traditional substance for dyeing fabric, painting the body, and medicinal purposes. Currently it is used in cooking due to its color and flavor—notable for its role in giving curry its color—. It has a pungent, spicy and aromatic smell. As medicine it has been used to treat heartburn, arthritis, and as an anti-inflammatory. It has been attributed the ability to serve effectively in the treatment of some types of cancer.



Cúrcuma produces a yellow pigment by grating the rhizome or tuber of the plant. The cúrcuma pigment is very effective because it sets well on fique (natural fiber), cotton and paper. It works well with lemon, which acts as a catalyst during the process, enhancing the intensity of the yellow color pigment. It requires fire in order to properly adhere to different surfaces.

Extracción + teñido

Extraction + dyeing