Turmeric is the boiled, dried, cleaned and polished rhizomes of Curcuma longa. The plant is a herbaceous perennial, 60-90 cm high, with a short stem and tufted leaf. There are 7 to 12 leaves, the leaf sheaths forms the pseudo stem. The lamina is green above and pale green below and has a length of 30-40 cm and width 8-12 cm. Inflorescence is a central spike of 10-15 cm length. 1-4 flowers are born in axil of the bract opening one at a time. About 30 flowers are produced in a spike. Seeds are produced in capsules and there will be one to numerous sunken capsules in an inflorescence.
Cumin is the dried, white fruit with greyish brown colour of a small slender annual herb. The surface of the fruit has 5 primary ridges, alternatively has 4 less distinct secondary ridges bearing numerous short hairs. The plant is 15 to 50 cm high. The aromatic seed like fruit is elongated, ovoid, 3 to 6 mm long, slightly bitter and has a warm flavour. The flowers are white or rose coloured in small umbels.
Mustard is an annual herb cultivated as oil seed crop or as vegetable or as fodder, of which, 3 species are known for its condiment value. They are pale yellow or white mustard (Brassica hirta), brown mustard (Brassica juncea) and black mustard (Brassica nigra). The leaves of the plant are alternate, long, bristly branched, petiolate, hairy on both sides. Flowers are small, yellow with 4petals, cruciform. Seeds are 1.5-3mm.
Fenugreek seed is the ripe fruit of an annual herb. This robust herb has light green leaves, is 30-60 cm tall and produces slender, beaked pods, 10-15 cm long, each pod contains 10-20 small hard yellowish brown seeds, which are smooth and oblong, about 3mm long, each grooved across one corner, giving them a hooked appearance.
Coriander is an important spice crop having a prime position in flavouring food. The plant is a thin stemmed, small, bushy herb, 25 to 50 cm in height with many branches and umbels. Leaves are alternate, compound. The whole plant has a pleasant aroma. Inflorescence is a compound umbel comprises 5 smaller umbels. Fruit is globular, 3 to 4 mm diameter, when pressed break into two locules each having one seed. Fruit has delicate fragrance; seeds are pale white to light brown in colour
It is a biennial, aromatic, stout, glabrous, 1.5 to 1.8 mtr high. The ripe fruit (seed) is small, oblong, cylindrical, 6.8mm long, straight or slightly curved, greenish yellow, deeply furrowed, 5 ridged and having agreeable aroma.
Garlic is a hardy, bulbous, rooted, perennial plant with narrow flat leaves and bears small white flowers and bulbils. The compound bulb consists of 6 to 34 bulblets called ‘cloves’ which are surrounded by a common, thin, white or pinkish papery sheet. Garlic has a strong flavour and taste.
Ginger of commerce is the dried underground stem of the herbaceous tropical plant grown as an annual. The whole plant is refreshingly aromatic and the underground rhizome, raw or processed, is valued as spice. Ginger is a slender perennial herb, 30-50 cm tall with palmately branched rhizome bearing leafy shoots. The leafy shoot is a pseudostem formed by leaf sheath and bears 8 to 12 distichous leaves.
Indian Chilli Varieties
Chilli is the dried ripe fruit of the genus Capsicum. Capsicum annuum is an annual sub –shrub, the flowers of which are borne singly and fruits usually pendent, which provide red peppers, cayenne, paprika and chillies and sweet pepper (bell pepper) a mild form with large inflated fruits.
Capsicum frutescence is a perennial chilly with small sized pods which are highly pungent. It is commonly known as ‘bird chilly’ and ‘Tabasco’.
Black Pepper is the dried mature berry of Piper nigrum, a climbing, perennial shrub mostly found in hot, moist region of Southern India. Under cultivation pepper vines are trailed over support as columns, 5-6 mtr tall, 1-2 meter diameter. The climbing woody stems have swollen nods with clinging roots at each node, which helps in anchoring the vine to the support trees (standards). It has straight upward growing main stem and have lateral shoots from the axils of the leaves having shorter inter nodes without adventitious roots. In such branches the terminal buds get modified into an inflorescence (spike) and the auxiliary buds continue further growth.