Turmeric is a rhizome, or root, related to ginger root. It has knobbly, ringed "fingers" with rough, pale tan skin through which the vibrant orange color of the flesh is visible. It has a peppery, somewhat bitter or earthy flavor. It can be boiled and then dried to use as a powder, or grated and used fresh. The fresh form, however, can stain clothing or porous surfaces when cut.
Photo courtesy Simon Eugster via Wikicommons