Observations on the adaptability of some species of moringa in Israel

D. Makin, E.M. Solowey
Moringa is represented naturally in Israel only by M. peregrina which has a long history as a source of oil for cosmetic and medicinal purposes, but has marginal value for food. However, during the 1950s in a period of food scarcity called the “Tzena” (austerity) early immigrants from India introduced M. oleifera into their home gardens. Lately, due to the growing awareness of its medicinal and nutritional properties, moringa trees are increasingly available at local nurseries and M. oleifera is becoming a common garden tree in Israel. In order to learn the characteristics of other moringa species and their adaptability to soil and climate, five to ten more species of moringa were introduced to Israel and planted in various locations. Two of these species, M. hildebrandtii and M. drouhardii from Madagascar have been planted in several locations. M. concanensis originating from India has been planted in two locations. M. ovalifolia from Namibia has been planted in three locations and M. stenopetala originating from southern Ethiopia and Kenya has been planted in more than 20 locations. Although these plantings were relatively recent some characteristics and tolerances have been observed. The two species from Madagascar adapted well and showed better resistance to excess water and frost than M. oleifera, which tends to be a rather tender tree and both M. stenopetala and M. peregrina, which were grown in the same plot. M. drouhardii, M. stenopetala and M. concanensis planted in the Negev reached sexual maturity and produced flowers and pods. The other species have not demonstrated as much adaptability but more time for development of the plants may be needed. It is possible that some of these species may be suitable as rootstocks for M. oleifera and so may increase the usefulness of this tree. It is also possible that the adaptation of newly introduced moringa types may open new crop possibilities for the moringa family of trees. Explicit maps of all species of moringa are presented by Mark Olson at: http://explorelifeonearth.org/moringahome.html.
Makin, D. and Solowey, E.M. (2017). Observations on the adaptability of some species of moringa in Israel. Acta Hortic. 1158, 33-44
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2017.1158.5
Moringa species, germplasm conservation, agro-ecological adaptation, propagation

Acta Horticulturae