Surveying and preserving Moringa peregrina germplasm in Egypt

M.I. Ezzo, S.A. Saleh, A.A. Glala, A.M. Abdalla, S.M. Adam
Moringa peregrina is well known as an oil and medicinal plant in Egypt since 3000 years B.C. Many authors reported that M. peregrina is native throughout the Red Sea (east and west, including south Sinai in Egypt). However, there is still a lack of knowledge regarding the wild range of M. peregrina, its growth habit, local name and ordinary uses by Bedouins, local tribes and ethnic groups. This investigation aimed to survey and preserve the wild M. germplasm among Red Sea and south Sinai mountains. Many surveying trips were carried out in 2014 and 2015, and many survey trips are still on-going. Usually, M. peregrina is located at 300-400 m altitude. It grows wild on vertical cliffs into vertical mountain side, showing individual small tree shapes. Sometimes it looks like a shrub if its main stem was broken near to the crown area. A huge M. peregrina tree was also found in south Sinai region. Moringa leaflets become narrower from seedling to adult, likely an adaptation to cope with drought by reducing transpiration and saving water. According to local tribes living in Halayib and Shalatien region (22-24N latitude, 34-37E longitude), M. peregrina flowers once a year during April and its pods mature during fall (August-October). However, M. peregrina trees in south Sinai (28-29N latitude, 33.80-34.50E longitude) have been seen flowering during deep winter (January) and carrying many flowers and premature pods at the same time. Also, M. peregrina trees in Shalatien region are smaller and weaker than those found in south Sinai region. That may be due to lack of rain in the Halayib and Shalatien region during the last four years in comparison with south Sinai region. Among Ababda and Bashaira tribes “Halayib and Shalatien region population”, the M. peregrina tree is called “maya” and its seed is known as the expensive seed. They use it as a medicine for many pains and diseases, for water purification and seed oil is used with perfumes and has many other uses. On the other hand, south Sinai Bedouins call the M. peregrina tree “alban” and use leaf powder for wound curing. They also use seed powder for water purification. M. peregrina seed oil is used as sun-blocker and anti-aging agent. M. peregrina preservation, re-habitation and commercial cultivation might take place in the near future.
Ezzo, M.I., Saleh, S.A., Glala, A.A., Abdalla, A.M. and Adam, S.M. (2017). Surveying and preserving Moringa peregrina germplasm in Egypt. Acta Hortic. 1158, 79-84
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2017.1158.10
Moringa peregrina, wild germplasm, biodiversity, preservation, re-habitation, Egypt

Acta Horticulturae