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Moringaceae

Horseradish Tree Family

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Moringaceae  Martinov 1820

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.
 
Moringaceae are widely distributed outside their natural range, through introduction. Moringa oleifera from India is the most widely grown, for its nutritious pods, edible leaves and flowers. The mature seeds can be roasted or used to prepare an oil. The fleshy roots are grated and used as a seasoning, despite containing a toxic alkaloid. The African species Moringa stenopetala is also cultivated.
 
Succulent species: Four species of Moringa are bottle trees with water-storing succulent trunks from Madagascar (M. drouhardii, M. hildebrandtii), Namibia (M. ovalifolia), Kenya and Ethiopia (M. stenopetala).
M. borziana, M. longituba, M. pygmaea are tuberous root succulents native to Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia.

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