|M. ovalifolia in Namibia|
Donaldsonia Baker f.
Moringa, native to parts of Africa and Asia, is the sole genus in the flowering plant family Moringaceae. The name is derived from the Tamil word Murungai (முருங்கை). It contains 13 species from tropical and subtropical climates that range in size from tiny herbs to massive trees.
The most widely cultivated species is Moringa oleifera, a multipurpose tree native to the foothills of the Himalayas in northwestern India and cultivated throughout the tropics. M. stenopetala, an African species, is also widely grown, but to a much lesser extent than M. oleifera.
Moringa grows quickly in many types of environments.
Much of the plant is edible by humans or by farm animals. The leaves are rich in protein, vitamin A, vitamin B, vitamin C and minerals. 100g of fresh Moringa leaves have 9.3 g protein, 434 mg calcium, 404 mg potassium, 738 μg vitamin A, and 164 mg vitamin C.
Feeding the high protein leaves to cattle has been shown to increase weight gain by up to 32% and milk production by 43 to 65%. The seeds contain 30 to 40% oil that is high in oleic acid, while degreased meal is 61% protein. The defatted meal is a flocculant and can be used in water purification to settle out sediments and undesirable organisms.
Moringa cultivation is on the rise in Honduras and all across South America. There are claims that it is a profitable means of combating deforestation, but Moringa is not native to the forests of the New World. As of 2012 support for Moringa farmers is being offered by the Honduran federal government through the Secretary of Agriculture and by private foreign investment firms. The plant's market potential is widespread given its easy growth and high nutrient content. As described below, the plant is valued for its leaves and high-protein seeds. It can also be made into defatted meal. Moringa oleifera silviculture is being promoted as a means to combat poverty and malnutrition.
Moringa oleifera is being cultivated in poverty-stricken nations, such as Niger, as a primary source of food and nutrients, and a source of income through sales due to widespread and global marketability.
In Haiti moringa is planted as a windbreak and to reduce soil erosion. The trees provide many products from oil to soil amendments (fertilizers) and teas made from the leaves.
Moringa is considered a potential oilseed feedstock for biodiesel. The main advantage of Moringa as a source of biodiesel is that biofuel produced by it is not in direct competition with food, as the plant produces both biofuel feedstock (seeds) and food (leaves) independently. Moringa seeds contain 30 percent to 40 percent oil that is high in oleic acid. Its biodiesel has better oxidative stability than biodiesel made from most other feedstocks. Leaves and seeds can be harvested from mature trees without damaging them.
List of species
- Moringa arborea Verdc. (Kenya)
- Moringa borziana Mattei
- Moringa concanensis Nimmo
- Moringa drouhardii Jum. – Bottle Tree (southwestern Madagascar)
- Moringa hildebrandtii Engl. – Hildebrandt's Moringa (southwestern Madagascar)
- Moringa longituba Engl.
- Moringa oleifera Lam. (syn. M. pterygosperma) – Horseradish Tree (northwestern India)
- Moringa ovalifolia Dinter & Berger
- Moringa peregrina (Forssk.) Fiori
- Moringa pygmaea Verdc.
- Moringa rivae Chiov.
- Moringa ruspoliana Engl.
- Moringa stenopetala (Baker f.) Cufod.
- Angiosperm Phylogeny Group (2009). "An update of the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group classification for the orders and families of flowering plants: APG III" (PDF). Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 161 (2): 105–121. doi:10.1111/j.1095-8339.2009.00996.x. Retrieved 2013-07-06.
- "Genus: Moringa Adans.". Germplasm Resources Information Network. United States Department of Agriculture. 1996-09-17. Retrieved 2011-09-26.
- "Moringa Adans.". TROPICOS. Missouri Botanical Garden. Retrieved 2009-12-30.
- Olson, Mark (2010). "Moringaceae Martinov. Drumstick Tree Family". Flora of North America. 1993+. Flora of North America North of Mexico. 7: 167–169.
- Janick, Jules; Robert E. Paull (2008). The Encyclopedia of Fruit & Nuts. CABI. pp. 509–510. ISBN 978-0-85199-638-7.
- "West African Food Composition Table". Retrieved 2012-11-01.
- "The Moringa Tree Moringa oleifera". Trees for Life International. Retrieved 2009-12-29.
- Schill, Susanne Retka (2008-05-14). "Multidimensional Moringa". Biodiesel Magazine. Retrieved 2011-09-26.
- Schwarz, Dishna (June 2000). "Water Clarification using Moringa oleifera". Technical Information W1e (Gate Information Service). Retrieved 2011-09-26.
- Ginny Stein (12 July 2012). "Miracle Tree helps in Niger's food crisis". Australia: The World Today/ABC News. Retrieved 13 August 2013.
- Annette Frost (3 July 2012). "Moringa: The Tree of Life". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 13 August 2013.
- Reserva Las Estacas, Morelos, Mexico (in Spanish)
- Agrin, A.C., a civil association related to Reserva Las Estacas
- Schill, Susanne Retka. "Multidimensional Moringa". Biodiesel Magazine. Retrieved 7 September 2013.
- "Subordinate Taxa of Moringa Adans.". TROPICOS. Missouri Botanical Garden. Retrieved 2009-12-30.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Moringa.|
|Wikispecies has information related to: Moringa|
- Mark Olson's Moringa Home Page: Photos and information on all 13 species
-  Mark Olson's Moringa blog - information on frequently asked Moringa questions
- The Magic Tree: Info about moringa in different languages
- Purdue University: Moringa oleifera
- Trees for Life Moringa Site