Description from Flora of China
Plants ca. 1 m tall. Rhizomes pale blue, pale green, yellowish green, or yellow; roots tuberous at tip. Leaf sheaths dark brown; petiole longer than leaf blade; leaf blade with purple cloud at center and green midvein, oblong-lanceolate, 25--60 × 10--15 cm, adaxially glabrous, abaxially sparsely pubescent. Inflorescences on separate shoots arising from rhizomes; spike 10--18 × 5--8 cm; fertile bracts white-green, pink at apex, broadly lanceolate, apex acuminate or acute; coma bracts white, apex deep red. Calyx ca. 1.5 cm. Corolla tube white, ca. 3 cm; lobes red, ca. 1.5 cm. Lateral staminodes petaloid. Labellum subobovate, ca. 2 × 1.2--1.5 cm, yellowish with deep yellow center; central lobe emarginate at apex. Ovary hairy. 2 n = 63.
Curcuma phaeocaulis has been misidentified as C. aeruginosa Roxburgh, C. caesia Roxburgh, and C. zedoaria (Christmann) Roscoe in the Chinese literature.
Yunnan; cultivated in Fujian, Guangdong, Guangxi, and Sichuan [Indonesia, Vietnam].