Moringa Species, Ben Oil Tree, Benzoil Tree, Drumstick Tree, Horseradish Tree

Moringa oleifera

Family: Moringaceae
Genus: Moringa (moh-RIN-guh) (Info)
Species: oleifera (oh-lee-IF-er-uh) (Info)
Synonym:Guilandina moringa
Synonym:Hyperanthera moringa
Synonym:Moringa pterygosperma
View this plant in a garden



Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun





Foliage Color:



15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)


8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)


USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Where to Grow:

Grow outdoors year-round in hardiness zone

Can be grown as an annual



Bloom Color:

White/Near White

Bloom Characteristics:

Flowers are fragrant

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Late Spring/Early Summer

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

From seed; winter sow in vented containers, coldframe or unheated greenhouse

From seed; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:

Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:


Birmingham, Alabama

Phoenix, Arizona (3 reports)

Tucson, Arizona

Citrus Heights, California

Corona, California

Hayward, California

Thousand Oaks, California

Bartow, Florida

Bradenton, Florida

Cape Coral, Florida

Deland, Florida

Jacksonville, Florida

Lake Worth, Florida

Largo, Florida

Loxahatchee, Florida

Merritt Island, Florida (2 reports)

Mulberry, Florida

North Fort Myers, Florida

Orlando, Florida

Rockledge, Florida

Safety Harbor, Florida

Sarasota, Florida (2 reports)

Satellite Beach, Florida

Tampa, Florida

Umatilla, Florida

West Palm Beach, Florida

New Orleans, Louisiana

Pass Christian, Mississippi

Joplin, Missouri

Coal Center, Pennsylvania

Weslaco, Texas

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Jun 11, 2016, Ted_B from Birmingham, AL (Zone 8a) wrote:

Seeds soaked in water for 24hrs germinate within a week or so. Seedlings require regular water, but less water is required as they establish good roots. The easiest way to kill this plant is to overwater it, or prevent the roots from draining completely between waterings. Give it a well-draining medium, plenty of warmth and sun, resist the temptation to overwater it, and it will grow happily and without complaint.

FYI - At least one published report claims the PKM1 cultivar produces the best tasting leaves.


On Feb 26, 2016, markdeutsch from Pass Christian, MS wrote:

I'm on the zone 8B-9A border. I started M. oleifera from seeds late in a growing season. in 4 inch pots far from my house. Got busy and forgot about them. Weeds grew around them. Three years later, I was cutting weeds and stumbled on the pots. I was amazed that although totally neglected , and exposed to many freezes, some below 20F, new shoots were sprouting. The deep weeds might have buffered the low temperatures somewhat. Being a plant person, I had to apologize to them, and planted them in 5 gallon pots near my house. Some flowered, and made seed pods at 3 feet tall. Some grew to 7 FT. I made a mistake by putting them in regular professional mix. After frequent rains, root rot began. Some died. Saved others by repotting in palm/cactus/citrus mix, and putting them under the eve... read more


On Apr 15, 2015, trackinsand from mid central, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

my neighbor started a small nursery with these trees. he gave me one with instructions to plant using only the native soil dug from the hole and no fertilizer as an experiment. i did water when i first planted it but we ended up having a lot of rain (summer, 2014), so other than staking it for a few months, (it was about 6'), it was on its own the past year.

we had one day of below 32 degrees this past winter and the green leaves browned and fell. later on (middle of march, 2015) i checked it and it appeared dead so i sawed it off about a foot from the ground. within a few days it had re-sprouted from the main trunk and is now growing happily again.

i anticipated this and was glad that the root system had established itself well enough to survive.
... read more


On Sep 4, 2014, istcallst from Mugla,
Turkey (Zone 9b) wrote:

I love this tree, it grown well in a large container on the balcony. Overwintered it indoors and the second year it is flowering now. I read it takes about 3 months form blossom to fruit?


On Jun 12, 2012, worldschoiceinc from Phoenix, AZ wrote:

A good site to share information about health and nature. Congrats and thank you...


On Feb 24, 2012, Crikey from Muscat,
Oman wrote:

It grows very well in Muscat, Oman, by the sea.


On Feb 1, 2012, satellite from Cape Coral, FL wrote:

Been growing the plant for quite some time. Highly underutilized. Not so sure why some sources are hesitant to post nutritional analysis of the leaves. This is public knowledge. Check ECHO for information. The group is quite serious with its research. I should know. I worked for them for five years in management. One thing I would recommend for gardeners here is to explore the leaf mass and wood material as an alternative to store bought fertilizer. Living in SW Florida,I potentially have the worse gardening soil imaginable. Whether as a compost, green manure or green manure tea. This stuff is powerful. Seeds are cheap and easy to grow. It is a tropical. Expect it to freeze below freezing temps.


On Sep 2, 2011, saltcedar from Austin, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

Dead at 16f after a 3-day freeze.


On Jul 22, 2010, MoringaMorey from Bradenton, FL wrote:

Some information, and a cautionary statement:
I grow and sell Moringa Oleifera and Moringa Stenopetala seeds and seedlings. I warn people NOT to eat the root, as a horseradish subsitute, as the root bark contains a powerful neurotoxin. Consuming too much of the root bark can be potentially fatal. There is no specific information, from any of the intense research conducted on Moringa, that specifically states HOW much, is TOO much. For that reason, we caution everyone, on our websites and in person, not to eat the root.
Despite the fact that this is a common practice, in many countries, it is a dangerous practice.
We currently grow Moringa in Sarasota and Bradenton, FL. They do not like temperatures that are below 50F, however, ours survived temperatures in the 30F r... read more


On Jun 24, 2010, Sobha wrote:

I have this tree for about 3 years now. 1 year in the pot and now we put it in the ground, it grew well in size, but it not bearing any fruit..At this time,there is not a single leaf on the tree. The tree looks healthy and it grew to almost 9 ft tall. Last year, there were small fruits, but because of the wind and the frost bite, they never grew. Any tips to grow a healthy tree will be very helpful. We live in Phoenix, AZ.
Thanks in advance


On May 26, 2010, antshrike from Weslaco, TX wrote:

Here in the Rio Grande Valley of south Texas many or our nurses and doctors come from the Philippines and almost all of them grow "malunggay" trees in their yards. Our trees come from seeds of trees planted by my wife's grandfather on the island of Cebu. She regularly uses the leaves in making chicken tinola (soup). I'm sure they would be good in salads also. The "tree" never gets very tall as new branches are havested for soup. We cut it back over the winter to make the new shoots more accessible.


On Sep 29, 2009, ChayaMan from Largo, FL wrote:

Some of the best info on this tree comes from ECHO in Ft. Myers, FL ( I have been growing Moringa oleifera and M. stenopetala since 2002, and a friend has several trees near Pt. Harcourt, Nigeria. Here are some facts:

Growing from seed: Soak seeds overnight before planting. Seeds can be started indoors, but must be moved outdoors as soon as practical. The seedlings grow tall and thin, and need wind to strengthen the trunk, lest they fall over. Seedlings and young trees are a favorite browse for deer and other herbivores, and so must be protected. Seed sown directly in the ground produces a very deep taproot, which will continue until enough water/moisture is reached, even at the expense of not growing the trunk or leaves. Because of this taproot, the tree i... read more


On May 21, 2007, actoon from Satellite Beach, FL wrote:

This tree is growing in my neighbors back yard. It has been there for about 15 years with no die back. It is about 30 feet tall and the trunk is about 20 inches in diameter. The only problem is the root system is large and tends to destroy plumbing pipes in the area. It needs a large area to grow away from any water sources which the roots seem to seek out.


On Aug 31, 2006, mia01 from karachi,
Pakistan wrote:

mia01 31 aug 06 Karachi

I agree with 8900. This tree really has many gifts for mankind : not only can the tender leaves, buds and flowers be cooked and eaten, but the bean also is said to have healing properties to help sufferers of arthritis. The tender beans are boiled in water and if this water is strained and drunk regularly, it is said to relieve the pain of arthritis and even prevent it. The only drawback of this tree is the mess it generates, leaf seed and flowers fall so profusely that no sooner is it cleared that it needs clearing all over again!


On Apr 29, 2004, 8900 wrote:

This is a quote from the book: Living Big by Pam Grout, pg. 94. "Take world hunger,
for example. Balbir Mathur, a Wichita, Kansas businessman, has found a tree, a simple
tree with leaves so nutritious that it almost sounds like a magic potion. The leaves of
the drumstick tree, as the tree is called, have 7 times as much vitamin C as an
orange, 3 times as much potassium as a banana, and 4 times as much vitamin A
as a carrot. One tree can practically wipe out world hunger in a small village in a
developing country.
Not only that, but its seeds can purify water, its bark and roots are also
edible, and it grows easily and quickly in poor soil.
Since l984, Mathus has planted 30 million drumstick trees in impoverished... read more


On Mar 5, 2004, pixy242 from oshawa,
Canada wrote:

The fruit (i.e. the flesh inside and the seeds), flower, and tender leaves of this tree are edible and commonly used as a vegetable in India.

The bean should be eaten before the seed starts to harden and the flesh loses its sweetness.


On Jul 16, 2003, Thaumaturgist from Rockledge, FL (Zone 10a) wrote:

This tree had died at least 3 times that I know of from freeze in the last 15 years. It had come back every time and bore fruit. The current property owner had cut down
the tree totally to redo her landscaping. A branch came
out from the old trunk and is now about 16 ft tall bearing
There is a newer specie of Moringa available now in the US called the African Moringa, Moringa stenopetala.