Moringa/Drumstick Tree (Moringa oleifera)

Article and photos by Jason Hauser

My initial reasons for growing moringa tree were to use the mild savoury flavoured new leaf growth for curries and stir-fries. At about 3 years from seed moringa trees begin their profuse production of “beans”. After searching for uses for the long fruits I discovered a lot more than I was bargaining for! Firstly the immature green “beans” are indeed edible (when still thin and very flexible at about 15cm long). They were very tasty, similar to the leaves but sweeter, and are a great nutrient dense replacement to beans for some added variety over the summer months fruiting period. I also found it an excellent support structure for growing snake beans with their dappled shade over summer, as well as for other climbing veggies to grow up over winter. But there was much, much more to learn. Keep reading to find out a summary of the best bits!!

🪴 The moringa tree is revered around the world as its plant tissues contain a diverse suite of phyto-chemical compounds (nutrient/antioxidant content) that are essential to good health. If that is not reason enough to gain your attention the moringa tree offers a great deal more, plus a variety of different common names to match:

▶️ Miracle tree → dubbed the miracle cure to malnutrition in many countries

▶️ Horseradish tree → flavour of the tender and swollen young roots

▶️ Ben oil tree → seed oil contains high amounts of behenic acid (industrial & food uses)

▶️ Drumstick tree → the tough mature green pods make great sticks for beating drums!

There are a long list of nutritional benefits and other uses; from consumption of the raw leaves and immature beans, nutraceutical and superfood uses of the seeds and dried leaves, and other uses include water filtration and the production of bio-fuels. I could go on all day, but if you wish to read more please follow this link to a lengthy research article: http://www.sciencedirect.com/…/pii/S2213453016300362

🫘 There is some confusion around the moringa tree being a legume with nitrogen fixing abilities. As a member of the mustard-oils, the Moringaceae (along with brassica’s, capers, and papaya’s) have no examples of species within their plant families that possess nitrogen fixing powers. My own efforts when inspecting their roots have never identified the presence of any nitrogen-fixing like root-nodules. In light of this I can confidently assure you that reports of them harbouring nitrogen fixing abilities are MYTHS! Easily forgiven however due to the very legume like appearance of the tree and its ability to thrive in conditions where many other trees would struggle to grow!

🌳Moringa trees more than make up for their lack of nitrogen fixing ability with their other great practical qualities in food production systems. These including the ability to aid in opening up compacted soils via their thick and swollen tuberous roots, generating a nutrient rich biomass source given their rapid growth over the warmer months, and as a fodder tree for various livestock. Other support services in your growing zones include supplying dappled shade during the hottest months, and allowing light and warmth to penetrate when it is most needed as moringa undergo a period of dormancy during winter. They require no special care as moringa trees are super tough in just about all respects! They are resilient to extreme heat events, short periods of water-logging, impoverished soils, light frosts, and can tolerate temperatures below zero with minimal impact.

The only thing left is to figure out where you have room to plant one! Happy growing!

2 responses to “Moringa/Drumstick Tree (Moringa oleifera)”

  1. I really like your blog posts and look forward to seeing more.
    The article discusses the various benefits of growing a moringa tree. The author initially began growing it for its mild savory flavor for cooking, but later discovered that the immature green “beans” are also edible and make a great nutrient-dense replacement for beans. The moringa tree is also revered for its diverse nutrient and antioxidant content and has various common names, including the horseradish tree and drumstick tree. While there is some confusion about its nitrogen-fixing abilities, the tree’s other practical qualities include aiding in soil health, generating nutrient-rich biomass, and providing shade and fodder for livestock. Moringa trees are resilient and require no special care.
    I think I got the main points, did I miss any?

    Thank you
    Juan Miller – Crosserx.com

    Like

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