The African Moringa Tree
In Africa, the Moringa Stenopetala tree is often called "Mother's Helper". Why do they call it that?
Good question. Is it because it cuts a woman's housework in half? No, that's ridiculous. Is it because helps to keep track of her children? I don't think so. Is it because she can safely use its limbs to "rock-a-bye" babies? Now, really...
Moringa Stenopetala has rightly earned the title of "Mother's Helper", because eating its leaves greatly increases a nursing mother's milk supply - and adding Moringa to her meals, helps combat malnutrition in her offspring. Most people who are familiar with Moringa, have only been exposed to the Moringa Oleifera variety. Both of them are excellent sources of nutrients, as are all varieties of Moringa, and they are also extremely environmentally-friendly.
The uses of the Moringa Stenopetala tree are almost endless, as it supplies a leafy green, edible flower buds and blossoms, edible seed pods, seeds that can be effectively used to purify water, and branches that make excellent mulch. That is just a sampling of the uses of Moringa Stenopetala, and there are many, many more.
Unfortunately, in cold climates, African Moringa trees cannot be grown outdoors successfully. Fortunately, they can be grown successfully in a greenhouse. If you live in a cold climate, but have access to a greenhouse - get some seeds, and start growing! There are some excellent sources of seeds available, and the seeds germinate quickly, sometimes within a week from the time they are planted. That's pretty fast - for a tree!
Moringa Stenopetala seeds
So very different from Moringa Oleifera seeds
This is what African Moringa seeds look like.
Some of them in the photo are still in their husks, some are de-husked. The seeds on the right side, are de-husked. They look like blanched almonds, but have a soft, velvety feel to them. The seeds on the left side, are still in their husks. For planting purposes, it really doesn't make a difference. Either way, their germination rate is exception, unlike the Moringa Oleifera - and husked, or unhusked - they all grow rapidly.
For their size, they are very lightweight. When you consider that they are the beginning of an immense tree, their seeds appear to be very small - usually between ¾" and 1¾" long. With Moringa trees, those relatively small seeds rapidly grow into huge trees. Avocado pits, or seeds, are giants by comparison - yet the Moringa seeds grow faster, and usually larger, than Avocado trees do. Herein lies one of the exquisite mysteries of our world; how the smallest seed - like a mustard seed, can grow into one of the largest trees on earth.
Moringa Oleifera seeds
Still Moringa, but a different variety
These seeds are from the Moringa Oleifera tree.
Short, brown, chubby, and winged - they don't look ANYTHING like the Moringa Stenopetala seeds, but they are still Moringa seeds. Isn't it odd, how very different the seeds are? Yet, they grow into the very same type of tree - a Moringa tree - in the plant family Moringaceae.
Moringa, and its many unique properties, never ceases to amaze me. Moringa trees are able to survive a drought - which makes them very valuable in many places in Africa, where drought is an ever-present danger. Technically, Moringa trees are not supposed to survive freezing weather - ours have! The rule of thumb, with Moringa Oleifera at any rate, is that you should not expect flowers or seed pods - "drumsticks" - until the tree is at least 8 months old. We have had them, consistently, on 6 month old trees. They are not supposed to like any salt in the soil. Well, forget that! We plant them very close to a large body of saltwater, in Florida, and - they thrive! Our theory, is that they must know we love Moringa, because nothing else - makes sense...
Meet "Stan" our Moringa Stenopetala seed
Go take a look at "Stan's" page, by checking out his link farther down this page. Once you get there, you'll meet his buddy "Morey", the Moringa Oleifera seed. He and "Stan" have a good time telling everyone how terrific the Moringa tree's bounty is; for the environment, and for your health. They are just full of good information, and never tire of singing the praises of Moringa. They wish everyone could grow it, and want everyone to eat it!
By the way, did you know that Moringa Stenopetala, and all varieties of Moringa, are excellent fodder for chickens, pigs, cattle, and other types of livestock? You did not? Well, now you do!
Moringa in Agriculture and Fodder for Livestock
Moringa Stenopetala leaves - in morning dew
These make good eating!
Our "meaty" Moringa Stenopetala leaves...
They weren't on the tree very long, because I stripped them off of their branches, and ate them. In my opinion, they just "can't be beat", for ease of stripping enough of them off to make a meal, and their exotic "nutty-leaf" taste!
One thing we love about Moringa Stenopetala, is that it cooks fast and keeps its bright green color - unlike many leafy greens.
The raw leaves provide an walloping dose of Vitamin C that puts oranges to shame. Even when cooked, the Vitamin A in Moringa leaves of any variety puts spinach to shame, the calcium is usable - unusual in the plant kingdom, the protein content is high, and the nutritional list just goes on and on. A few minutes spent in harvesting Moringa Stenopetala's large leaves, can provide enough greens to feed - and nourish - a large family!
Moringa Stenopetala Seeds Purify Water
One of the most valuable and amazing benefits of the Moringa Stenopetala tree, is its seeds' ability to purify water. The scientific studies that have been conducted all around the globe, on Moringa seeds' water purification applications, are incredible, to say the least. This is a "mock-up" that I did, but the results are THAT phenomenal!
How to Purify Water with Moringa Seeds
To purify water, easily, you just crush a few Moringa seeds, and put them into a gallon of water. Six of them is enough for a gallon, although some people use less. Shake the container, or stir it vigorously for about two minutes, and let it set for no longer than two hours. Pour off the water that is at the top of the container, being careful not to include the residue that will accumulate at the bottom, and you will have water that is suitable to drink.
Scientific studies have shown repeatedly, that all Moringa seeds, can purify water. The most effective ones appear to be those of the Moringa Stenopetala tree. Its seeds - can remove over 98% of the bacteria, heavy metals, and sediment, from even extremely dirty water. This method is used in many areas of the world that are considered to be underdeveloped nations, and elicits results that mirror some of the finest water purification systems used anywhere in the world. Take a moment to check out the link below, about Moringa seeds and water purification...
For Another Benefit of Moringa Stenopetala
At Last - Moringa Stenopetala Blossoms!
Treat Moringa Stenopetala Differently Than The Other Varieties
After frustrating years of waiting for Moringa Stenopetala pods to appear, I finally heard, from one of our customers, that they will produce pods faster, if you do not prune them! That was quite a revelation to me, as I am a "pruning nut".
I took his advice. Lo and behold! We now have Moringa Stenopetala buds and flowers, which will produce pods. Nowhere, had I read that before. We were one of the first to actually have Moringa Stenopetala in the United States, and information on this African variety is much harder to acquire than information on any the others that are grown.
Had I know this before, we would have had Moringa Stenopetala pods and seeds of our own a long, long time ago!
Moringa Stenopetala - Additional Information - Seeds and Photos
Because the African Moringa is not well known in the US, we have provided some links for you to enjoy, to learn more about this incredible tree. Grown freely in many countries where obtaining proper nourishment is a daily struggle, more people need to be aware ot its amazing properties.
The links below will tell you more about Moringa Stenopetala a.k.a. Mother's Helper a.k.a. the African Moringa.
More About Moringa Stenopetala
- "Stan" the Moringa Stenopetala seed talks about the African Moringa
This is where you'll meet "Stan", the African Moringa seed. He has a lot to say about the tree his seeds become. The leaves are larger than Moringa Oleifera, and the growth pattern is different, and...well...we'll let "Stan" share his story with you.
- A Moringa Stenopetala seedling survivor!
This poor baby was just a few months old, when he was hit with temperatures in the 40's. That's Fahrenheit! He survived, and put new leaves out, all along his trunk. He's a tall tree, now, but when this happened, we thought we might lose him!
- Some interesting information on how Moringa seeds purify water...
The seeds purification properties are so powerful, that they can remove over 90% of the particulates, pollution, and poisonous substances from water - talk about a valuable seed, from an amazing tree!
Photo credits: All of the images portrayed here were photographed by or created by the author - E. Tack.
If you would like to comment, please do. We always welcome readers comments and feedback! Tell us what you know about Moringa Stenopetala, or tell us what you'd like to know, and thanks for visiting us here on HubPages!
© 2010 Emily Tack
Tell us what you think... - ...about Moringa Stenopetala, that is
Moringa Oleifera from Lahore, Pakistan on March 01, 2020:
Moringa is harsh climate surviving plant. It has been cultivated in Pakistan now, the same African variety is now available in Pakistan. The temperature in Pakistan is very suitable for moringa as in many regions it crosses 50 degree Celsius.
Luis G Asuncion from City of San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan, Philippines on November 16, 2019:
We do have moringa also here in the Philippines. Although the African moringa is much longer leaves. Anyway, I love to read your articles. Thanks for sharing.
Tigger King on May 04, 2019:
I have been waiting eight years for pods on my stenopetalia. Imagine my extreme joy when I finally got a glimpse of blossoms. They were short lived as two people came and yes they snapped off the limbs with the blossoms. I was livid. If that wasn't bad enough, the iguana love the blossoms also. Nine years and nothing. I spoke to my friends, but the iguana isn't my friend. What to do?
Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on October 03, 2018:
We have this plant inmost gardens in the Philippines. It is good with chicken soup. I remembered my mother taking plenty of these when nursing my younger siblings. I had been looking for some in the groceries here in Canada but have not been able to find some.
peter kane on August 22, 2016:
I have planted Moringa Olifiera in Greece,I have flowers and pods on 3 month old trees which are now 2 meters high.
Emily Tack (author) from USA on June 21, 2014:
@anonymous: Many places online have them, and they are reasonable. You only need a few seeds, as they become large trees.
Emily Tack (author) from USA on June 21, 2014:
@caragreengirl: We are in FL also, and we "think" that the Moringa Stenopetala trees need to be let alone, pruning-wise, if you want pods from them. We have YET to have pods ourselves, and our trees are older than yours, but we used to prune them back a lot. Now, we are letting them grow freely, in the hopes that we will get some pods.
caragreengirl on June 20, 2014:
We live in Florida where moringa grows very well and we have this huge Moringa Steno tree growing. It's about 4 years old but hasn't podded. Last year and this year blossums but no sign of pods. I wonder why.
anonymous on August 23, 2013:
@anonymous: I believe that our bodies will do the miracles with the right nutrition and the right attitude. The mind is a powerful tool and used correctly together with proper nutrition, the body can cure any disease.
anonymous on June 08, 2013:
@anonymous: It can help anyone by providing enhanced nutrition. That in turn can assist to strengthen the body and in turn provide better disease resistance, perhaps offsetting to some small extent the immune deficiency HIV causes. If you or a loved one has HIV you need to get the proper drugs if possible and do all you can to enhance your health, and Moringa can at least help with your overall health. However, it will NOT cure AIDS, and I am sorry to inform you of that fact. I wish the single author of almost all the Moringa websites out there call it a "miracle tree" because it could build false hope. Moringa is amazing but it does not do miracles - it simply provides outstanding nutrition (which would certainly seem a miracle to a mother with a malnourished, starving child) as well as side benefits such as the seed's usefulness in water purification and Ben oil production for both cooking oil and machine lubrication uses. Think of Moringa as a vitamin and mineral supplement pill that you can grow as a perennial in any warm environment (where famines are most prevalent), or an annual in cold zones.
anonymous on July 27, 2012:
i want to now about thi s ,can help for the people of h i v posetive
anonymous on June 28, 2012:
I just want to buy some propagation seeds...where can I do this without busting the bank?
anonymous on April 17, 2012:
I am trying to source some M. stenopetala seed but the only source I have found no longer ships internationally. Any suggestions of where I could source the seed in or to South Africa?
anonymous on April 16, 2012:
Moringaâs benefits are derived from the plantâs high concentration of bio-available nutrients. Moringa contains high levels of;
Vitamin A (beta carotene),
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine),
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin),
Vitamin B3 (Niacin),
Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine),
Vitamin B7 (Biotin),
Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid),
Vitamin D (Cholecalciferol),
Vitamin E (Tocopherol)
Moringa is considered a complete food because it contains all of the essential amino acids required for a healthy body. Dried Moringa leaf is a nutritional powerhouse and contains all of the following amino acids:
ISOLEUCINE builds proteins and enzymes and it provides ingredients used to create other essential biochemical components in the body, some of which promote energy and stimulate the brain to maintain a state of alertness.
LEUCINE works with isoleucine to build proteins and enzymes which enhance the body's energy and alertness.
LYSINE ensures your body absorbs the right amount of calcium. It also helps form collagen used in bone cartilage and connective tissues. In addition, lysine aids in the production of antibodies, hormones, and enzymes. Recent studies have shown lysine improves the balance of nutrients that reduce viral growth.
METHIONINE primarily supplies sulfur to your body. It is known to prevent hair, skin, and nail problems, while lowering cholesterol levels as it increases the liver's production of lecithin. Methionine reduces liver fat and protects the kidneys, which reduces bladder irritation.
PHENYLALAINE produces the chemical needed to transmit signals between nerve cells and the brain. It can help with concentration and alertness, reduce hunger pains, and improve memory and mood.
THREONINE is an important part of collagen, elastin, and enamel proteins. It assists metabolism and helps prevent fat build-up in the liver while boosting the body's digestive and intestinal tracts.
TRYPTOPHAN supports the immune system, alleviates insomnia, and reduces anxiety, depression, and the symptoms of migraine headaches. It also is beneficial in decreasing the risk of artery and heart spasms as it works with lysine to reduce cholesterol levels.
VALINE is important in promoting a sharp mind, coordinated muscles, and a calm mood.
ALANINE is important for energy in muscle tissue, brain, and central nervous system. It strengthens the immune system by producing antibodies. Alanine also helps in the healthy metabolism of sugars and organic acids in the body.
ARGININE causes the release of the growth hormones considered crucial for optimal muscle growth and tissue repair. It also improves immune responses to bacteria, viruses, and tumor cells while promoting the healing of the body's wounds.
ASPARTIC ACID helps rid the body of ammonia created by cellular waste. When the ammonia enters the circulatory system it can act as a highly toxic substance which can damage the central nervous system. Recent studies have also shown that aspartic acid may decrease fatigue and increase endurance.
CYSTINE functions as an antioxidant and is a powerful aid to the body in protecting against radiation and pollution. It can help slow the aging process, deactivate free radicals, and neutralize toxins. It also helps in protein synthesis and presents cellular change. It is necessary for the formation of new skin cells, which aids in the recovery from burns and surgical operations.
GLUTAMIC ACID is food for the brain. It improves mental capacities, helps speed the healing of ulcers, reduces fatigue, and curbs sugar cravings.
GLYCINE promotes the release of oxygen required in the cell-making process. It is also important in the manufacturing of hormones responsible for a strong immune system.
HISTIDINE is used in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, allergies, ulcers, and anemia. A lack of histidine may lead to poor hearing.
SERINE is important in storing glucose in the liver and muscles. Its antibodies help strengthen the body's immune system. Plus, it synthesizes fatty acid sheaths around nerve fibers.
PROLINE is extremely important for the proper function of your joints and tendons. It also helps maintain and strengthen heart muscles.
TYROSINE transmits nerve impulses to your brain. (My note: Isn't this description interesting. Tyrosine, the same Amino Acid inhibited in whites and Albinos) IT HELPS OVERCOME DEPRESSION; improves memory; increases mental alertness; plus promotes the healthy functioning of the thyroid, adrenal, and pituitary glands.
anonymous on April 05, 2012:
i am going to introduce this important tree to rural area in ethiopia where farmers are food insecured. but I need some information on the uses and propagation of this species. i kindly request your support
anonymous on March 27, 2012:
@sciencefictionn: i want to try it this plant can help everybody in human body.. very healthy >>>i want to try it
anonymous on March 15, 2012:
My name is Owen I resides in Ontario Canada and I would like to know more about this PLANT I would also like to grow it in my garden as an annual crop.or even grow it inside aplease send me more information. My e-mail address is email@example.com.
Emily Tack (author) from USA on February 20, 2012:
@anonymous: Moringa Stenopetala grows in your area. Ask around for anyone growing "The Drumstick Tree" or "The Horseradish Tree". If you can obtain some cuttings from it, about 1 inch in diameter, you can plant it into a pot, water it some every day, and in a few weeks, you will have a Moringa Stenopetala seedling.
anonymous on February 17, 2012:
i am a health care provider and practice proactive health care.moringar oleifra has been of immense benefit to me and my family and clients principally as an immune booster among other benefits..i planted moringa oleifera on 4 plots of land.just learnt ot the moringa stenopetala and interested in cultivating it to fortify the oleifera of which i believe will give a resounding result.pls where and how can i get the stenopetala seeds.i live in west africa.
anonymous on January 25, 2011:
Never tried Moringa Stenopetala. Looks interesting since it has same principle as the Moringa Oleifera. I love the Moringa Oliefera not just because of its taste, but all the good benefits. I've got to try the Moringa Stenopetala! Where can I get the best sale seed for the M-Stenopetala? In my sunny room, so far I grow the Moringa Oliefera, dwarf papayas, dwarf bananas, Calamansi, Lemon Meyer, Tangarine, Santol, Bilimbi, Guava, small asian peppers, and sugarloaf pineapple.
Emily Tack (author) from USA on July 04, 2010:
@delia-delia: I thank you, and "Stan", our African Moringa seed thanks you - ALL! Now, if we can just get people to EAT it...
Delia on July 02, 2010:
Oh I want one!!!! what a great story with great information...thanks for sharing, a ~"Squid Angel Blessing"~ for allowing me to learn something new!
aishu19 on June 21, 2010:
Wow! I love this lens.. I learned a lot about the Moringa tree and its uses.... I don't think I knew anything about this tree before reading your lenses...
imolaK on April 19, 2010:
It's a very useful and nice tree. In my country it could be grown only in greenhouse. I'm lensrolling your lens to my Beautiful World of Flower lens.
anonymous on March 16, 2010:
Very good Write-up. I enjoyed it
sciencefictionn on March 09, 2010:
I enjoyed your lens giving me good info and nice pictures. Moreover I like the healthy life style! 5 stars.