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Moringa oleifera Lamk

Family Name: Moringaceae
Synonyms: Moringa pterygosperma
Common Name: Horse-radish Tree, Kelur, Merunggai, Drumstick Tree, 辣木
Full Sun Moderate Water Fruit or Vegetable Herb or Spice Tree


Family Name
Genus Epithet
Species Epithet
Name Authority
Name Status (botanical)
Common Names

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Division Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants) (Dicotyledon)
Plant Growth Form Tree (Small (6m-15m))
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic
Plant Shape Umbrella, Weeping / Pendulous, Open
Maximum Height 10 m
Tree or Palm – Trunk Diameter 0


Native Distribution India
Native Habitat Terrestrial
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical, Sub-Tropical / Monsoonal
Local Conservation Status Exotic (Horticultural / Cultivated Only)

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form A fast-growing, much-branched and crooked tree with a corky bark. Although deciduous, tree seldom shed all its leaves. Possesses tuberous roots. When injured, the plant exudes a milky sap.
Foliage Young shoots are purplish or greenish white. Leaves are green and 2 to 3 pinnate, with up to 6 pairs of pinnae. Leaflets are obovate in shape.
Flowers Flowers are borne on an erect or spreading panicle comprising of numerous white, fragrant flowers.
Fruits Fruit is a three-angled, long and slender capsule. Green when young, the fruits turn brown when mature.
Associated Fauna Flowers are pollinated by insects, such as bees.
Cultivation It prefers to be grown under full sun, in well-drained and fertile soil. Plant is drought-tolerant and takes pruning very well which is necessary to promote regrowth and keep its shape in check. Propagated via seeds and stem-cuttings. Can be planted as a hedge for the provision of wind protection, shade and support for climbing garden plants.
Etymology The genus Moringa is from a Malabar vernacular name, moringo, for the horse-radish tree. The specific epithet oleifera means oil-bearing
Ethnobotanical Uses Edible Plant Parts (Edible Fruits, Edible Leaves, Edible Flowers, Edible Seeds)
Food (Fruit & Vegetable : Immature green pods, called “drumsticks” are edible and often used in curries. They are eaten by sucking out their internal contents and the tough valves are discarded. Seeds inside mature pods can be eaten like peas or roasted like nuts. Flowers are also edible when cooked. Roots are shredded and used as a condiment like horseradish. The highly nutritious leaves are cooked and used like spinach and can also be dried and crushed into a powder that is used in soups and sauces. ;Herb and Spice)
Medicinal ( Leaves and root bark have numerous folk medicinal uses. )
[Others]: Mature seeds contain about 25% oil that does not turn rancid. Used for cooking, lubrication and perfumery purposes. Seed are also pounded and used to purify dirty or cloudy drinking water.

Landscaping Features

Plant & Rootzone Preference - Tolerance Fertile Loamy Soils, Well-Drained Soils
Thematic Landscaping Economic Garden

Fauna, Pollination and Dispersal

Pollination Method(s) Biotic (Fauna) (Insects (Bee))

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Full Sun
Water Preference Moderate Water
Plant Growth Rate Moderate
Maintenance Requirements Low
Propagation Method Seed, Stem Cutting


Foliage Retention Deciduous
Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Mature Foliage Texture(s) Smooth
Prominent Young Flush Colour(s) Green
Young Flush Texture(s) Smooth
Foliar Type Compound (Bipinnate)
Foliar Shape(s) Non-Palm Foliage (Ovate, Obovate)
Foliar Margin Entire
Foliar Apex - Tip Rounded
Leaf Area Index (LAI) for Green Plot Ratio 2.5 (Tree - Open Canopy)

Non - Foliar and Storage

Trunk Type (Non Palm) Woody
Specialised Storage Organ(s) Underground (Root Tuber)

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower & Plant Sexuality 1 Bisexual Flowers
Flower Colour(s) White
Flower Texture(s) Smooth
Flower Grouping Cluster / Inflorescence
Flower Symmetry Bilateral
Inflorescence Type Panicle
Flowering Period Free-Flowering

Image Repository



Master ID 1741
Species ID 3034
Flora Disclaimer The information in this website has been compiled from reliable sources, such as reference works on medicinal plants. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment and NParks does not purport to provide any medical advice. Readers should always consult his/her physician before using or consuming a plant for medicinal purposes.
Species record last updated on: 23 May 2022.