Monographs Details: Moringa (L.) Millsp. moringa
Authority: Britton, Nathaniel L. Flora Borinqueña.
Description:Species Description - An East Indian tree, long ago introduced into the American Tropics, and now widely naturalized, spontaneous from seed, nearly throughout the West Indies, north to Florida, and in Central and South America. It is frequent in Porto Rico, most plentiful in the southern and south-western districts. The roots have the odor and taste of Horseradish. The lubricating oil of Ben is derived from the seeds, and the name Ben is also used for the tree. Another Spanish name is Jasmin frances. The tree often blooms profusely, becoming covered with clusters of the nearly white, fragrant flowers, elegant among the delicate, much divided leaves, and is sometimes planted for ornament. Moringa (Malabar name) is the only genus of the Family Moringaceae, and there are only 3 species, natives of Asia and Africa.
Moringa Moringa is a tree about 9 meters high, or lower, with rough, corky bark, and slender, finely hairy twigs. Its alternate, twice or thrice compound, deciduous leaves are from 30 to 60 centimeters long, their primary divisions, and the leaflets opposite, the numerous, thin, blunt, untoothed leaflets are oblong, or obovate, from 10 to 20 millimeters long. The flowers are numerous, in axillary clusters, the individual ones on stalks from 5 to 10 millimeters long; the 5, unequal sepals, slightly united at the base, are narrowly oblong, from 9 to 13 millimeters long; the 5, nearly equal petals are a little larger than the sepals; there are 5, perfect stamens with 1-celled anthers, alternating with 5 imperfect ones (staminodes); the 1-celled ovary contains many ovules; the slender style is topped by a minute stigma. The fruit is a slender, drooping, 3-angled, beaked capsule, from 20 to 45 centimeters long, about 2 centimeters thick, or less, splitting into 3 valves when ripe, releasing the many, winged seeds, which are 2 or 3 centimeters long.
Guilandina Moringa Linnaeus, Species Plantarum 381. 1753.
Moringa oleifera Lamarck, Encyclopédie Méthodique Botanique 1: 398.1783.
Moringa pterigosperma Gaertner, de Fructibus et Seminibus Plantarum 2: 314. 1791.
Moringa Moringa Millspaugh, Field Museum Botany 1: 490. 1902.