Turmeric is a semi-aquatic member of the ginger family that naturally occurs throughout Southeast Asia. The long, golden-colored taproot is the source of the dried spice we know as turmeric and as the primary seasoning in curry. The warm, spicy and slightly bitter taste of turmeric is widely used to season a variety of meat, rice and vegetable dishes in Middle Eastern and Asian cuisines. The spice is also used to produce a deep yellow dye for coloring various textiles. Because turmeric represents fidelity and fertility in Indian culture, it plays a role in traditional weddings. Ground turmeric is also used to make pastes for topical use on the skin.