pierre laszlo

The horseradish tree
Not very tall, Moringa oleifera (Moringaceae) grows to a maximum height of about 30 feet. It came from Northern India, and the Arabs planted it on the Arabic Peninsula. It then followed their westward expansion into Africa. Its nutritional value makes this tree valuable enough to have undergone migration. Most parts are edible. Moreover, growth is swift. The tree bears fruit in the first year and they are elongated pods, light brown in color, about a foot long. Each pod contains a few pea-shaped seeds. Production of seeds can boast yields on the order of three metric tons per hectare, a high value for any crop. “Ben oil” which results from pressing the seeds resembles olive oil in its composition. The cake obtained after seeds have been pressed, is an efficient flocculant. Africans use it to clarify and purify drinking water. The leaves, rich in vitamins, feed cattle, sheep, goats and pigs. Africans also use them for salads. Other parts such as the terminal buds, the flowers or the discarded pods are comestible. Upon grinding, the roots provide a horseradish-like paste, hence the English name of this tree.  

My book, in French, Copal benjoin colophane … , Le Pommier, Paris, 2007, provides more information on the horseradish tree.