Moringaceae Martinov 1820
The Moringaceae is a family with the single genus Moringa and 13 species of dicotyledenous tropical and sub-tropical flowering trees with gummy bark and gum canals in bark and pith. Four species are bottle trees with water-storing trunks from Madagascar, Namibia, Kenya and Ethiopia. The rest are more slender but with tuberous roots. The alternate leaves are pinnate. They may produce an unpleasant odour when crushed. The irregular flowers are grouped in panicles and have 5 sepals and 5 petals, often reflexed. Fruits are angular dehiscent capsules containing 3-winged or wingless seeds.
Moringaceae are widely distributed outside their natural range, through introduction. Moringa oleifera from India is the most widely grown, for its nutritious pods, edible leaves and flowers. The mature seeds can be roasted or used to prepare an oil. The roots are grated and used as a seasoning, despite containing a toxic alkaloid. The African species Moringa stenopetala is also cultivated.