Moringa Stenopetala - the African Miracle Tree
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
Many of you do not own livestock, but often the benefits of feeding Moringa to animals is overlooked. Those who HAVE fed it to their animals, are quite vocal in their praise of the effects it has on them.
My oldest son and his wife always feed the leaves to their chickens, who love them, and seem to thrive on them.
If you DO have livestock, and are interested in supplementing their diets with Moringa, take a look at this very informative report.
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
This book highlights another health benefit that many people have derived, from the Moringa Stenopetala tree. It is reputed that all of the varieties of Moringa provide the same benefits, but this particular book specifically addresses research that was done on the African Moringa.
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.
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© 2010 Emily Tack