Moringa stenopetala seeds, Cabbage tree
Moringa stenopetala, Cabbage tree seeds
The Moringa Stenopetala tree or plant is commonly known as the Cabbage Tree (although some other plant species also share this common name, e.g. Moringa oleifera). It is an African native, more specifically to Kenya and Ethiopia. It is found growing in the wild in Ethiopia but is actually also widely cultivated for a variety of purposes.
It produces edible leaves as well as seeds which can be used for the purification of water and for traditional medicinal purposes. It is planted by crop farmers on the high and intricate series of terraced growing lands in the Ethiopian highlands which are constructed to conserve water. Over time the trees have been bred to improve the taste of their leaves and the size of their seeds to be a more productive crop. These enhanced trees are now found in other parts of Africa such as the Rift Valley.
It is a key feature of subsistence farming in Southern Ethiopia where a crop of 20-50 cabbage trees can support an extended family of 10-15 members. It provides a high yield even under drought conditions and can be harvested all year round. As well are offering a direct food source when others are scarce, it can be sold for cash, used as animal fodder, act as a windbreak and be used as a fuel source (although not particularly effective) and for shade all year round.
The Moringa stenopetala is a relatively small tree, commonly growing up to 12 metres. The crown has many branches and there is sometimes more than one trunk. The leaves are bi- or tripinnate with approximately 5 pairs of pinnae. In turn, each pinna has between 3 and 9 elliptic or ovate leaflets. The tree's flowers are scented and have white or yellow petals, white stamens and pinkish sepals. The cabbage tree bears fruit consisting of long red pods with a grey bloom. It belongs to the Moringa genus of flowering plants.
Moringa Stenopolata is primarily known as a nutritious vegetable crop particularly in Ethiopia, similar to its Indian 'cousin' Moringa Oleifera. It is however also planted as a companion plant to other crops, offering, for example shade to capsicum crops. Another important use is in water clarification and purification where the seeds are ground to a powder which is then found to be effective in making substances held in suspension in water coagulate. They can then be removed and the water is made potable.
It is converted to extract, powder, capsule and oil forms and sold for medicinal and health benefits on a commercial basis. In Ayurveda and other traditional forms of medicine the seeds are used in poultices and topically for bacterial and other skin conditions. Taken internally, they are believed to relieve epilepsy and rheumatic and arthritic conditions as well as boosting libido.
germinating Moringa stenopetala seeds:
this is easy, simply put you Cabbage tree seeds in cactii soil, about 1cm deep, keep it moist and at about 20 - 30°C,It will start sprouting within 3-10 days. Further cultivation is much more troublefree compared to Moringa oleifera. The picture above shows one of my plants grown from seeds and less then 2 weeks old. M. stenopetala prefers a warm and sunny place and only moderate moisture