Thanks for visiting the Moringa Home Page! It will introduce you to the remarkable range of vegetative and floral morphology in the family, which consists of only one genus, Moringa. This page will show you:
The 13 species of Moringa fit into three broad categories that reflect life form and geography. The links below are arranged under these categories. To find out more about a species, click on its name to go to its page. For links to species pages arranged geographically, jump down to the maps.
Massive trees with bloated water- storing trunks and small radially symmetrical flowers.
Trees with a tuberous juvenile stage and cream to pink slightly bilaterally symmetrical flowers
The eight Moringaspecies found in northeast Africa span the whole range of life form variation found in Moringa. All but M. peregrina are endemic to northeast Africa, that is, found nowhere else on earth. These species are tuberous adults or tuberous juveniles maturing to fleshy-rooted adults; colorful, bilaterally symmetrical flowers
The first map shows Africa, Madagascar, and parts of Asia, including Arabia and India. Countries in which Moringa occurs are shaded in color. The lightest shadings indicate that only one species of Moringa is found in that country, while darker colors denote countries with two, four, or five species. Moringa species almost always grow in stands, only rarely occurring singly, and no species have been found to occur sympatrically (to grow together in the same habitat at the same spot).
Arabia and India: 3 slender trees
The three species that occur in the Red Sea area, Arabia, and the Indian subcontinent are all slender trees. This group includes the family's best-known and most economically valuable species, M. oleifera. Now cultivated in all the countries of the tropics, M. oleifera seems to be native to subhimalayan India. M. concanensis is mainly from India and Pakistan, barely reaching into Bangladesh. M. peregrina has the widest range of all, growing from the Dead Sea area sporadically along the Red Sea coasts to northern Somalia and around the Arabian Peninsula to the mouth of the Persian Gulf.
Southern Hemisphere: 3 bottle trees
The three species restricted to the southern hemisphere are all bottle trees. Namibia and Angola in southwestern Africa are home to M. ovalifolia, while M. drouhardiiand M. hildebrandtii are endemic to Madagascar.
Moringa diversity is highest in the Horn of Africa
With nine species,the Horn of Africa is the center of Moringa diversity and include a variety of life forms. Eight of the species found here are endemic (occur nowhere else). M. peregrina is found in northern Somalia, Arabia, and the Red Sea coasts north to the Dead Sea.
|Horn of Africa map legend|
|Red x's||M. peregrina|
|Yellow dots||M. pygmaea|
|Gray dots||M. longtituba|
|Pink dots||M. ruspoliana|
|Green dots||M. rivae|
|Blue circles||M. borziana|
|Red dots||M. stenopetala|
|Turquoise dot||M. arborea|
The densest concentration of Moringa species is in Mandera District, in the extreme northeast of Kenya, where M. arborea, M. longituba, M. rivae, and M. ruspoliana can be found, though the species do not grow intermingled with one another.
Moringa is apparently absent from Socotra, the large island off the Horn of Africa.