NOTE: The information presented here was edited by our Urban Forester from an article published by the Moringa Garden Circle.
Native to India, and commonly known as the Horseradish Tree because of its pungent edible root, Moringa Oleifera is a soft-wooded tree that grows to about 25 feet tall, with corky bark and feathery leaves. Leaves are about two feet in length and composed of very numerous, small leaflets. After about 8 months the tree begins to flower and continues year round. The flowers are white, fragrant, nearly an inch wide and grow in loose clusters. The fruit is a nine-ribbed cylindrical pod, about 15 inches long. Seeds are three-angled, winged, and yield a product called “oil of Ben” which was commonly used to lubricate watches.
Virtually every part of the Horseradish Tree is edible. The leaflets can be stripped from the feathery, fern like leaves and used in any spinach recipe. Small trees can be pulled up after a few months and the taproot ground, mixed with vinegar and salt and used in place of horseradish. Very young plants can be used as a tender vegetable. The flowers are edible or can be used to make tea. Young pods, and the surrounding materials, can be cooked in a variety of ways and are said to taste like asparagus.The oil from the seeds can also be used for cooking. Some parts of the tree has medicinal effects as well.
This beautiful tree is located on the east side of Andrews Avenue Bridge near the Huizenga Plaza’s Band shell. It was graciously donated by the Moringa Garden Circle.
Growing the Tree
For more information and recipes on the Horseradish Tree go to the Moringa Garden Circle’s website.