Drumstick Tree: Classification, Distribution, Characteristics, Planting, Care and Uses


Kingdom – Plantae

Family – Moringaceae

Genus – Moringa

Species – oleifera


Moringa is a member of the Moringaceae family, which includes 12 different species of trees and other plants. The Moringaceae family includes a diverse range of tree types, including bottle to cylindrical-shaped trees and tuberous bushes. Although the Moringa tree is native to India and Pakistan, it is also found in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Africa, Bangladesh, Namibia, India, and Madagascar, all of which are located in the Himalayan northwestern province. This tree is widely grown in dry tropical parts of the Middle East and Africa (Nouman et al., 2013). Moringa trees can be found in many tropical locations across the world, including Ghana, the Philippines, Ethiopia, Haiti, Uganda, Nicaragua, and several other countries where the soil is favourable for Moringa survival.

Drumstick Plant


Drumstick (Moringa oleifera Lam) is a tropical perennial tree that goes by several names in different parts of the world, including Benzolive, Drumstick tree, kelor, Marango, French Jasmine, Acacia, Sajna, Horse-Radish tree.

It is primarily grown for the fruit (pod), which is a valuable commodity that is used in sambhar, vegetable curries, and pickles, among other dishes. In the same way, leaves can be utilised as a fresh leafy vegetable (better if not wilting) or as a dried leaf powder. It can also be used for windbreaks, green manure, green feed, and hog gum production.

It’s a drought-resistant, fast-growing perennial that adapts well to a variety of environments and farming systems. Almost every component of the tree is edible and has been for a long time. Moringa is grown in Indian states such as Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, and Karnataka. Many uses of the Moringa tree have been described by Fuglie (1999), including biomass production, animal forage, biogas, domestic cleaning agent, in feeding programmes to combat malnutrition, especially in African countries, as a blue dye, for fencing purposes, as fertiliser, green manure, for gum extraction and honey juice-clarifier, various medicines, as ornamental plantation, as bio-pesticide against seedling damping-off, rope making, tanning hides, and water purification.


1. Moringa belongs to the Moringaceae family. The tree’s botanical name is Moringa oleifera Lam, and it belongs to the Moringa genus.

2. It is a fast-growing deciduous tree with a trunk diameter of 1.5 feet and a height of 10–12 metres.

The parietal placentation, three-valved fruit, elongated, non-dehiscent berry, and winged seeds define the family.

3. M. oleifera and M. concanensis are the most prevalent species. M. oleifera has normally tripinnate leaves, with leaflets that are 12-18 mm long, yellow or white petioles without red streaks, and a medium-sized tree.

4. M. concanensis has bipinnate leaves with 15-30 mm long leaflets, red-streaked petals or reddish at the base, and a big tree.

5. The parietal placentation, three-valved fruit, elongated, non-dehiscent berry, and winged seeds define the family.

6. The flowers have five uneven yellowish-white petals and are fragrant. Flowers measure 1.0–1.5 cm in length and 2.0 cm in diameter. They grow in bunches of 10–25 cm on slender, hairy stems.

7. Flowering occurs six months after planting. Flowering happens once in April and June in milder climates, while flowering occurs twice or even all year in areas with consistent seasonal temperatures and rainfall.

8. The fruit is a three-sided brown coloured capsule with dark brown seeds with a diameter of 1 cm and a diameter of 20–45 cm. The seeds are dispersed by water and wind with the help of three pale papery wings.

9. Every year during cultivation, the tree is chopped back to 1 – 2 metres in height to make harvesting easier.

10. Moringa flowers are aromatic, white or ceamy-white in colour and pedicelled in wide-spreading panicles with linear bracts. The calyx has five-lobed sepals, linear-lanceolate, refluxed, and tubular on the exterior. The 5 white petals of the corolla are free, slightly spathelate, and veined.

11. Yellow stamens with 5 fertile staminales alternate with 5-7 staminales. The base of filaments is villous.

12. On three pariental placentas, the ovary is superior on a short gynophore, three carpelled, and locular with several biseriate pendulous ovules. Unit locules capsules, 30-120 cm long, triangular and elongated pods with 13 ovules.

Soil and Culture

Moringa is grown in tropical and subtropical climates with annual rainfall ranging from 760 to 2500 mm and temperatures between 18 and 28 °C. It grows in all soil types except those that are wet. Because of their excellent drainage capabilities, slightly alkaline clay and sandy loam soils are considered appropriate. Because of its adaptability to a wide range of soil and climatic conditions, Moringa oleifera Lam is thought to have high ecological plasticity. Drumstick grows in India’s tropical and subtropical climates. It can grow from sea level to 500 metres in height, with maximum temperate ranges of 38 to 480 degrees Celsius and minimum temperatures of -1 to -30 degrees Celsius, with an annual rainfall of 750-2000 millimetres. It’s also a drought and frost resistant tree.

Moringa thrives in a pH range of 6.0-7.5 in deep sandy loam soil. However, one study found that moringa seedlings may survive up to 41 ESP, demonstrating its strong salt tolerance.

 Mode of Pollination

It is heteromorphic and entomophilous, the plant is heavily cross-pollinated, with bees as pollinators. The emasculation procedure is carried out on the evening of the preceding day. Pollination is usually done before 11 a.m. the next morning. The presence of self or foreign pollen on the stigmatic surface of the female flower should be examined before pollination. To prevent infection, flowers are packaged before being opened. Pollen is gathered from flowers, or the flowers themselves are utilised to pollinate other flowers. For subsequent pollination, pollen-collecting is required. Pollen can be harvested in huge quantities for large-scale pollination or pollination at a later time. Pollen accumulates in the keel petal of the moringa plant and can be squeezed out and transmitted to the stigma.

Season and planting

The annual moringa is propagated by seeds, which are directly sown in the pit to enable quicker and faster seedling growth. Under the conditions of Southern India, September is the optimal time to sow the seeds. Because the flowering phase should not coincide with monsoon rains, which might result in significant flower shedding, the seeding timing must be rigorously adhered to. With a population of 1600 plants per hectare, a spacing of 2.5 × 2.5 m is recommended. The seeds are sown in the centre of 45 x 45 x 45-centimetre trenches that have been dugout. After seeding, the seed takes 10 to 12 days to germinate. The amount of seed required per hectare is 625 g. A spacing of 2 m is adequate when planted in single rows with irrigation channels.


When the central leader stem reaches 75 cm in height, it is required to pinch the terminal bud (two months after sowing). This will encourage the growth of multiple lateral branches while also lowering the tree’s height. For a larger yield, Vijayakumar et al., (2000) discovered that nipping growing tips 60 days after sowing was better than pinching 90 days after sowing.

Nutritional value:

Moringa has approximately 90 nutrients and 46 different types of antioxidants, making it an excellent remedy for a variety of physiological ailments. Drum stick leaves have 7 times more vitamin ‘C’ than an orange, 4 times more calcium than milk, 4 times more vitamin ‘A’ than a carrot, 3 times more potassium than a banana, and 2 times more protein than equivalent amounts of milk, as well as being high in iron.

Malnutrition is a severe human health issue that can be alleviated by supplementing nutritional deficiencies with Moringa leaves.


Almost every portion of the plant has unique qualities, such as medical and pharmacological properties. As a result, plants have always been crucial for people since the dawn of time, regardless of era or location (Singh et al., 2012). All of these characteristics make it a one-of-a-kind biomaterial for food and other applications. It is a prominent critical food source against PEM, which is frequent in underdeveloped and developing countries, due to its high nutritional value.

It’s used in over 80 nations to treat vitamin and mineral deficiencies, as well as to support the cardiovascular system, blood sugar levels, and cancer prevention by neutralising free radicals. It’s also an excellent anti-inflammatory and immune system supporter. Above all, it may help with mental acuity, eye health, general weakness, lactating mothers, menopause, bone strength, and depression (Nouman et al., 2014).

There are several applications:

1. Food: Vegetables are made from tender green pods, leaves, and blossoms. Vegetarians’ nutrition demands are met by the leaves, which provide 38% protein and all essential amino acids. A typical tree may produce 150 kg of leaves per year and 250-270 fruits.

2. Fodder: Quality fodder is made from leaves. It encourages cows, buffaloes, and goats to produce 30-40% more milk.

3. Drumstick wood is soft, light, and perishable, and is also used in the textile industry for shuttles and picking sticks.

4. Seed:

a) Seed Oil: Moringa seed oil is known as “Benoil,” which is why the tree is also known as the “Benoil Tree.” This oil is edible and has a fatty acid composition similar to olive oil, making it ideal for replacing polyunsaturated vegetable oils with monounsaturated fatty acids, as is the current trend. Seed oil is also utilised as a lubricant, as well as in cosmetics and hair care products.

b) Seed powder: This is used to purify turbid, unclean water by mixing it with water. Moringa seeds and pods work well as sorbets in the aqueous system, removing heavy metals and volatile chemical pollutants (Singh, 2011).

c) Seed cake, which is high in crude protein, is utilised as organic manure (38 per cent).

6. Biopesticide: In okra, root and seed powder showed lower YVMV disease incidence and whitefly population, as well as higher fruit yield ( Srabani, 2004).

Rural livelihood:

This little-known vegetable, which is a traditional food plant in Africa, has the potential to improve nutrition, increase food security, promote rural development, and assist sustainable Landcare (Anonymous, 2008) Moringa is a plant that grows wild in Ethiopia. Because of its priceless food value derived during years of drought, the stenopetala species, also known as cabbage tree, is widely planted and honoured as “Mother of Farmers.” Even in situations where no other sources of food are available, about 20-50 moringa trees are enough to maintain a family of 10-15 individuals by supplying a food supply. A Tamil Nadu farmer might make almost Rs. 6 lakh in a year by selling 2.5 lakh seedlings of the “PAVM” type, which yields from the fifth to sixth month after planting. Which he uses as a source of revenue.

Medicinal properties

These are used to treat conditions such as sore throats, ear infections, sprains, hypertension, cough, anxiety, headaches, hysteria, skin infections, epilepsy, intestinal worms, respiratory disorders, joints pain, anaemia, blackheads, pimples, cholera, diarrhoea, bronchitis, lactation diabetes, abnormal blood pressure, swelling chest congestion conjunctivitis, asthma, fever, scurvy, tuberculo (Mishra et al., 2012). The Moringa tree has been shown to have several chemical compounds with pharmacologically beneficial characteristics and possible therapeutic applications. They contain antiulcer, hypoglycemic, infectious skin-curing, anti-hypertensive, antispasmodic, and anticancer chemicals.

Moringa leaf extracts have been used to treat hyperthyroidism and to fight the Herpes Simplex Virus Type 1 infection (Lipipun et al., 2003). Moringa seeds and pods are high in nutrients and phytochemical substances like amino acids, vitamins -carotene, protein, minerals, and phenolics (Farooq et al., 2007). Moringa can prevent over 300 ailments, according to Ayurveda, a traditional Indian health system (Ganguly et al., 2013). Moringa seed oil often called Ben oil, is a rancidity-resistant oil. This tree has been marketed in modern times as an excellent primary source of digestible calcium, protein, vitamin C, and Fe, as well as carotenoids, for use in areas where malnutrition is a major concern. Moringa, in comparison to other plants, provides more nutrients per gramme of plant. It’s also utilised in traditional medicine to treat a variety of ailments, such as liver disease recovery. Because of its antibacterial qualities, it is now being researched as a bio enhancer of nutrients and medications (Lopez, 2011). Moringa offers therapeutic potential for the prevention of atherosclerotic plaque formation in arteries, as well as lipid and cardiovascular illnesses, according to rabbit experiments (Chumark et al., 2008).

Antioxidant Property

Antioxidants are chemicals that help the body rid itself of free radicals. These free radicals can induce cirrhosis of the liver, atherosclerosis, cancer, and other issues. Drumsticks have been discovered to be an excellent natural source of antioxidants. The aqueous and alcoholic extracts of its leaves were proven to be very good antioxidants in a study (Siddhuraj et al. 2003). Another study found that drum sticks prevent rats from antitubercular drug-induced toxicity by increasing antioxidant levels (Kumar et al. 2004).

Anticancer Activity

Cancer is an extremely serious disease that is quickly spreading among humans. Moringa has been discovered to be helpful in the treatment of it. In a study on mice, it was discovered that consuming fruit and leaf extract can slow tumour growth (Purwal et al. 2010).

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