alexa The horseradish tree,Moringa pterygosperma (Moringaceae)—A boon to Arid Lands?
Pharmaceutical Sciences

Pharmaceutical Sciences

Medicinal & Aromatic Plants

Author(s): Morton JF

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The horseradish tree (Moringa pterygosperma,) is being introduced into drought-ridden lands to augment the local food and fodder supply. The tree grows up to 5 m per year. The foliage is high in calcium and has half the oxalates of amaranth. Seeds yield edible oil and the seed meal is used as fertilizer and as a coagulant to clarify turbid water. The philanthropic center, ECHO (Educational Concerns for Hunger Organization), North Fort Myers, Florida, receives many requests for seeds. A missionary in Mali wrote: “The seeds you sent arrived during the worst year of 14 years of dry weather. Only the moringa survived, and they have flourished. ”Another seed shipment resulted, after harvesting a crop, in 25 000 trees being planted by university students and faculty, around laborers’ houses in Maranhao, Brazil. The tree is not limited to tropical lowlands, but thrives at elevations of 800-1200 m in protected mountain areas of southern Mexico. The long-range effects of ingesting various parts of the tree as food or folkmedicine need study. Attention should be given to horticultural improvement, perhaps through hybridization with one or more related species now being compared with M. pterygosperma in India and Africa.

This article was published in Economic Botany and referenced in Medicinal & Aromatic Plants

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