Moringa oleifera Lam., a promising crop species for arid conditions of Saudi Arabia and Moringa peregrina (Forssk.) Fiori, a native wild species for crop improvement

N.S. Al-Khalifah, A.E. Shanavaskhan
Moringa oleifera Lam. is one of the world's most nutritious crops, belonging to the family Moringaceae. Recent inventions of new products and the multiple uses of moringa have attracted attention of researchers, development workers, policy makers and farmers to select this multipurpose tree species as a commercial crop. The government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) is now encouraging people to cultivate this crop. Some entrepreneurs have already started large scale plantations of moringa in northeastern and southwestern provinces of the KSA. Moringa typically grows in semi-dry deserts with well-drained sandy loam or clayey loam and it tolerates a range of pH between 5.0 and 9.0. It can grow with very little moisture because its roots can store moisture for prolonged periods of time. It grows best between 25 to 35°C, but will tolerate up to 48°C in the shade and can survive light frost. Moringa peregrina (Forssk.) Fiori, a native wild species of Saudi Arabia and neighboring countries also possesses many economically important properties and is very much adapted to arid and hyper arid conditions of desert countries. Biochemical studies conducted by many workers reported that both species have similar chemical components at varying concentrations. Moringa spp. are commercially grown for two main useful parts: leaves and pods. M. peregrina has deciduous leaflets and produces lesser number of pods compared to M. oleifera. Selection, cloning and crop improvements have been feebly attempted in this species. M. peregrina, an arid environment species can be used as mother plant in crop improvement programs for producing plants with best yielding traits, suitable for the desert climatic conditions. The available micropropagation techniques of moringa species can be applied to the newly developed hybrids for clonal propagation. This article reviews morphological, and phytochemical properties, ecological requirements, and propagation including in vitro culture studies of M. oleifera and M. peregrina. Based on the assessment of their viability as a promising crop in Saudi Arabia, M. oleifera is proposed as an economically potential crop species, while M. peregrina is considered as a potential candidate for crop improvement programs.
Al-Khalifah, N.S. and Shanavaskhan, A.E. (2017). Moringa oleifera Lam., a promising crop species for arid conditions of Saudi Arabia and Moringa peregrina (Forssk.) Fiori, a native wild species for crop improvement. Acta Hortic. 1158, 159-170
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2017.1158.19
https://doi.org/10.17660/ActaHortic.2017.1158.19
morphology, distribution, ecology, phytochemistry, propagation, in vitro culture
English

Acta Horticulturae