Horseradish Tree Family
RARE Fresh MORINGA OVALIFOLIA seeds harvested endemically in Namibia, non GMO and organic.
Moringa ovalifolia is a conspicuous, erect, deciduous tree up to 7 m high, bearing a succulent, often bottle-shaped main branch up to 1 m in diameter. The roots are fleshy. The bark is smooth, brown to silvery copper, with a shiny green sheen, and resinous. The leaves (tending to droop) are alternately arranged, twice-compound and up to 0.6 m long with up to 4 pairs of pinna, each with up to 7 pairs of opposite, oval leaflets and a terminal leaflet. The leaflets can grow up to 25 mm long.
The white flowers are borne in branched axillary sprays (panicles), each up to 3 mm in diameter with 4-5 petals. They are followed by grey-brown, three-angled pods, up to 400 mm long, which split along three valves, releasing the winged seeds.
Flowering time: mainly November to May (fruiting October to May).
Moringa leaves and stems are often utilized by game. Elephant, giraffe and springbok eat the fruit and leaves, whilst elephant and porcupine utilize the fleshy stems, resulting in their peculiar main stem architecture (Curtis & Mannheimer 2005). It is also reportedly eaten by the local indigenous people.
Distribution and habitat
Widely distributed in Namibia from the escarpment mountains northwest of Keetmanshoop to the Kaokoveld in the north, and further north into Angola. Its habitat consists mainly of desert or arid savannah vegetation. In the north it grows in dry mopane woodland. At Epupa Falls, beautiful examples occur on the rocky island and can be seen growing together with the baobab , Commiphora virgata, Euphorbia subsalsa, Adenium oleifolium and Pachypodium lealii. The soil is sandy, rich in gravel and may be alkaline, neutral to slightly acid; the plants are often associated with rocky, mountainous terrain.
Derivation of name and historical aspects
Moringa belongs to the monotypic family Moringaceae with only 12 known species. The specific epithet, ovalifolia, refers to its oval leaflets. Moringo is the local Malabar name in India for the useful Moringa oleifera, the horseradish tree (Jackson 1990), which occurs in the southwestern part of Africa, in North Africa, Arabia, India and Madagascar. The family is unique and is phylogenetically placed between the Capparaceae and Fabaceae.
Growing Moringa ovalifolia
Moringa ovalifolia is an ornamental tree with horticultural value. It is a decorative species, either planted singly or in groups. It is best grown in a sunny situation on a well-drained slope. There is a young tree in the Botanical Society Conservatory at Kirstenbosch, grown from seed.
Moringa ovalifolia is easily propagated from seed during the warm summer months. It is best to treat the seed with a systemic fungicide prior to sowing to prevent damping off. Sow in a sandy mixture and cover the seed lightly with sand. Germination is fast and the seedlings grow rapidly. Transplant to individual containers as soon as they are large enough to handle. The young trees are fairly fast growing, but should be allowed to dry off during the winters. It is not frost resistant and in cold regions should be kept as a potplant under greenhouse conditions.
The Moringaceae is a family with the single genus Moringa (Adanson 1763) including 13 species of dicotyledenous tropical and sub-tropical flowering trees with gummy bark and gum canals in bark and pith. There are four succulent species of bottle trees while the rest are more slender but some have tuberous roots. The alternate leaves are pinnate. They may produce an unpleasant odour when crushed. The irregular flowers are grouped in panicles and have 5 sepals and 5 petals, often reflexed. Fruits are angular dehiscent capsules containing 3-winged or wingless seeds.
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Sustainably harvested, organic seeds.