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Maintaining Moringa Seed Purity

Hello all,

I have both some PKM1 and PKM2 that I got from ECHO and I’m about to plant both of these trees, however, I would like to have a larger quantity of both PKM2 and PKM1 varieties so I’m wondering how far from other moringa trees (and each other) each of these plots of trees should be planted. Since I only have about half dozen trees of each, the plots will not be big, but I want to make sure they do not cross pollinate with any other moringa trees.

Thanks,

Tyler

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Hey Tyler! Moringa oleifera is highly cross pollinated due to being pollinated by insects, especially bees, and due to the delayed stigma receptivity of the flowers. I haven’t found any definite isolation distances for Moringa oleifera, but based on vegetables that are insect pollinated, the isolation is at least 1/2 mile - 1 mile (at least) to maintain the purity of the variety. One site I read said 500 m (0.3 mile) isolaton distance for Moringa oleifera. Unless you have a field isolated by a mile or two from other trees (even your neighbors’ trees), it will prove to be difficult to maintain the purity of a variety.

I’ve seen quite a bit of variation even within Moringa oleifera “varieties”. The PKM-1 and PKM-2 varieties each come from a cross of 2 different varieties and have shown variation in the offspring. So, perhaps instead of focusing on producing a variety, you could select the trees that have the characteristics you want, rogue out the off-types, and allow the ones you’ve selected to cross-pollinate with each other. You may even collect seeds from those trees and plant them and do another selection. The issue is still if your neighbor has moringa trees. But in this way, you select for characteristics that do well in your area and in a way produce your own locally selected “variety”. I am putting variety in quotes because of the variation I’ve seen even within named varieties (probably due to cross-pollination).

Cross-pollination and therefore wide isolation distances are a limiting factor in producing seeds of pure Moringa oleifera varieties.

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Good to know. That is quite the distance, but because Moringa isn’t super well known in the area I can easily go into the bush and find a couple spots that are isolated from each other that could potentially work. I’ve seen some trees that literally had almost no leaves on them with ridiculously large quantities of flowers and then pods, and others with very large quantities of leaves and I want the possibility of propagating both options locally, which sounds like it will be possible, just harder than what I expected.

On a side note, moringa oliefera and moringa stenopetala don’t cross pollinate do they?

Thanks so much for the info!

Tyler,

Hey! I don’t have definitive information about the cross pollination between Moringa species, but we haven’t witnessed any crossing of M. stenopetala with M. oleifera here in Florida.

I have heard of the possibility of M. peregrina accepting pollen from M. stenopetala or M. oleifera, but not the other way around.

Anyone else have experience with this?

Let us know how the selection and seed production go Tyler!