While most of our network members are familiar with “moringa,” the moringa family (Moringaceae) actually contains many species. We have promoted the ever-popular M. oleifera, conducting our own taste-test trials to offer our network a more favorably tasting tree; we also work with the more drought-tolerant M. stenopetala.
We even have a specimen of M. peregrina on our demonstration farm.
ECHO has now added two more species of moringa to its offerings: Moringa drouhardii and M. ovalifolia. Both of these species are bottle tree forms, meaning that they have bloated trunks used for water storage. The swollen trunks are often white, with M. ovalifolia often called the “ghost tree” for its particular coloring. The native range for M. ovalifolia extends from central Namibia to southwest Angola; the tree is usually found on rocky ground.
Moringa drouhardii is found natively in the dry forests of western Madagascar. This species grows extremely quickly, often exceeding three meters within its first year. It is also very hardy, as evidenced by its ability to thrive in limestone areas. The bark and wood of M. drouhardii are used medicinally in Madagascar to treat colds and coughs.
Complementary packets of seed for both of the new moringa species, as well as M. oleifera and M. stenopetala, are available for our network members while supplies last. Please be sure to give feedback on your experiences with these trees.
[ Most of this information about M. drouhardii and M. ovalifolia was taken from Mark Olson’s website, www.mobot.org/gradstudents/olson/moringahome.html ]