Moringa life forms: bottle trees, slender trees, and tuberous herbs and shrubs

Bottle tree Moringas

The following Moringa species are characterized by a massive, swollen, water-storing trunk and radially symmetrical (or nearly so) flowers. All of these species also have similar patterns of germination and ground tissue proliferation.

Moringa drouhardii    (Madagascar)
Moringa hildebrandtii (Madagascar)
Moringa ovalifolia    (Namibia and Angola)
Moringa stenopetala (Kenya and Ethiopia)

They were placed by Verdcourt together in a section of the genus called Donaldsondia in 1985.

Slender trees

The following species of Moringa have an underground tuber when small, but turn into slender trees with age. All three of these species are have bilaterally symmetrical flowers:

Moringa concanensis    Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh
Moringa oleifera     India
Moringa peregrina    Israel to Somalia and southern Arabian Peninsula

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Northeast Africa

The eight Moringaspecies found in northeast Africa span the whole range of life form variation found in Moringa. All but M. peregrina are endemic to northeast Africa, that is, found nowhere else on earth:

Bottle tree
    Moringa stenopetala

Slender tree
    Moringa peregrina

Small tree with massive, fleshy roots
    Moringa arborea
    Moringa ruspoliana

Tuberous shrub/ herb
    Moringa borziana
    Moringa longituba
    Moringa pygmaea
    Moringa rivae

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all material © 2002 Mark E Olson