Food Plants International - Plant Fact Sheets Moringa oleifera - Moringa
Edible Portion: Leaves, Flowers, Fruit, Seeds, Roots, Bark, Pods, Spice, Vegetable
A small tree up to 9-12 m high. The trunk is 60 cm across. The wood is soft. It has feather-like divided leaves. The tree loses its leaves during the year. The bark is grey and thick. It is corky and peels off in patches. The leaves are pale green and the leaf is divided 3 times. The whole leaf is 30-60 cm long and the leaflets are usually oval and 1-2 cm long. The leaflets are jointed with a gland near the joint. The flowers are pale yellow and contain both sexes. They occur in long sprays 30 cm long. Each flower has 5 petals and of these one is erect and 4 are bent backwards. The flowers are sweet scented. The fruit is a long capsule 30-100 cm long by 2 cm wide. The seed capsules are up to 45 cm long. They are roughly triangular in shape. They split open when dry. There are 9 dark brown seeds inside. The seeds have 3 wings. Some kinds are better for edible fruit than others, while some are selected for leaves. Often the fruiting kinds are grown as annual plants.