Moringa, Horseradish Tree or Miracle Tree /Moringa Oleifera/
Moringa is a fast growing deciduous shrub or tree with a wide, umbrella-shaped, open crown and attractive fern-like foliage.
The tree grows up to about 8m tall with a crooked trunk that is often forked from near the base and can be 60cm in diameter.
A true multipurpose tree it has a wide range of edible, medicinal and other uses.
It is commonly known as Horseradish tree because the roots taste like horseradish or Drumstick tree because the pods look like drumsticks.
The white fragrant flowers can be produced all year round and are followed by the drumsticks. Different varieties have different length drumsticks.
Moringa is commonly grown for its wide range of uses and its remarkable capacity to withstand maltreatment and still produce during times of scarcity.
It is is an extremely fast-growing tree and within 1-3 months trees can reach 2.5m in height.
Young trees raised from seed start flowering after 2 years. In trees grown from cuttings the first fruits may be expected 6-12 months after planting.
Leaves are added to salads, cooked as a green or added to soups and curries. They have a mustard-like flavour.
Known in many parts of the world as the miracle tree, the leaves are very nutritious, being rich in vitamins and minerals.
Dry the leaves and add to smoothies or brew as a healing tea.
Flowers can be added to salads, made into a tea and added to soups and curries.
The immature long, bean-like pods are used in soups and curries, or made into pickles and can be eaten raw.
Older pods can still be cooked in curries but any bits deemed too chewy are discarded.
The immature seeds are cooked and eaten like peas.
Mature seeds, when roasted or fried, resemble peanuts in flavour.
Oil obtained from the seeds is used in salads and cooking and tastes similar to olive oil.
The pungent root is used like horseradish as a hot flavouring in foods.
Warm temperate to tropics
Moringa is a hardy tree that will grow in most soil conditions.
It quickly sends out new growth from the trunk when cut
Constant pruning of up to 1.5m per year is suggested to obtain a thick-limbed and multi branched shrub. It coppices and pollards well
Planted closely as a living fence or hedge providing shade and support for growing vegetables.
Seed – can be sown either directly or in pots in a nursery.
No seed pre-treatment is required and seeds sprout in 1 to 2 weeks.
Cuttings of half-ripe wood root easily.
Stem cuttings are usually preferred because they root easily.
Branches 100-150cm in length, with a diameter of up to 4cm will root readily in just a few months to create an instant living fence.
Young leaves and shoots – raw or cooked
The leaves contain 7-10% protein
Flowers – raw or cooked
Immature seedpods – raw or cooked
Immature and mature seeds – cooked
Risks and weed potential
Harvesting & Processing
Start harvesting leaves by pinching out the growing tips when the tree reaches 60cm. Leaves can be stripped from the stems easily and the stems discarded.
Harvest the pods at 15-30cm long.