Cape York Lily (Native Turmeric)

This stunning flowering tropical plant is known as the Cape Your Lily or Native turmeric (scientific name Curcuma australasica). It is not actually a Lily, but a ginger belonging to the turmeric family.

There are approximately 100 species of Curcuma and they are tropical perennials.

I discovered this lovely flowering tropical plant when I moved and separated it from a dry and sunny spot and placed it somewhere reasonably shady. This area is also rich in organic matter and it has flourished – the flowers are beautiful.

Growing – This deciduous clumping plant will grow to 1 metre high in full sun to part shade and prefers moist, well drained soil. It grows in most parts of Australia and whilst it is cold tolerant doesn’t like frost. It is incredibly hardy and even if it gets hit by frost it will generally bounce back.

The plant will die back in the dry season and the flower will be the first sign of life in Spring.

Flowers: Mauve with yellow flowers in Early Spring and Summer. This variety can also be found with white flowers.

Pests and Diseases – No known pests or diseases.

Harvest – Harvest the outer rhizomes in July, August and September, similar to turmeric.

Propagation – They are self-pollinating and can be easily propagated by dividing the rhizomes.

Eating – These native turmeric rhizomes are said to be enjoyed roasted and eaten by Indigenous Australians.

This variety’s rhizomes are edible and used as a spice similar to turmeric.

Turmeric Face mask


  • ⅓ cup oatmeal
  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons honey