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Miracle tree / Moringa tree
The Moringa oleifera is also known as the ‘miracle tree’, because all parts of the plants can somehow be used and the leaves and fruits have a high nutritional value and a medicinal application. In developing countries the trees are often planted on plantations to counteract malnutrition. The species is quite drought tolerant and is therefore suitable to plant in Africa or India. The green, not fully developed fruits can be used in Asian dishes, whereas the seeds can be eaten as nuts or be processed into behen-oil (they contain 30-40% oil). The seeds also have a cleansing function, and can make contaminated water potable again. The flowers can be cooked and the leaves can be eaten like spinach. The leaves are rich in vitamins and minerals and can also be dried to make tea.
In nature the Moringa tree can grow to a maximum of 12 meters, but in temperate climates it can be kept as a container plant that needs to be protected against frost. It will therefore stay a lot smaller, although the plant grows relatively fast. It prefers a sandy soil and a stand in the sun. Originally the plant grows in the southern parts of the Himalaya, in northwestern India.
Soak the seeds overnight in lukewarm water, after which they can be sown in sowing mix. Keep the soil constantly moist (but not wet) and let the seeds germinate in a warm spot (20-25 degC). Germination occurs often within a few weeks.
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