Moringa trees are spread throughout the older parts of most Kimberley towns. They are easy to pick at the moment as they are in full flower. The trees are usually three or four metres high and the flowers are in large graceful clusters that cover almost the whole tree. In Derby there is a large tree just behind the ANZ bank and several scattered through the grounds of Radio 6DBY. I would be interested to hear from anyone who knows who introduced this tree to the Kimberley and why. I suspect it was an important source of nutrition for early white settlers or may even have been introduced earlier by the Macassans and other Asiatic fishermen in the same way that Tamarind trees were introduced to the Northern Australian coastline.
Every part of the Moringa can be used, most important is the nutritional value of the leaves flowers and pods. They can be eaten raw or cooked or the leaves fried and used to make tea. The root is also used in a similar way to horseradish. Apart from human nutrition Moringa is also useful as a feed for livestock including chickens. It is an excellent green manure and the young green leave tips can be blended with water, strained and sprayed on plant foliage for growth enhancement.
It is an important part of the food forest here because it can also be used to create micro-climates according to season. In the wet when shade is needed it is allowed to grow tall and provide shade to more delicate plants then in the dry when sunshine is needed on veges it can be severely pruned or (pollarded) and the excess vegetation used as a soil enhancement or mulch