Amharic (shiferaw); Arabic (rawag); Bengali (sujina,sohjna,sajina); Burmese (dan-da-lun,dandalonbin); Cantonese (nugge); Creole Patois (benzolive tree); English (moringa tree,ben-oil tree,cabbage tree,clarifier tree,horse-radish tree,drumstick tree,West Indian ben); Filipino (malunggay); French (acacia blanc,Neverdie,moringa ailé,Ben ailé,Pois quenique); German (Pferderettichßaum,Meerrettichßaum); Gujarati (midho-saragavo); Hausa (zogallagandi); Hindi (sanjna,suhujna,sondna,sohanjna,shajna,munga ara,sainjna,mungna); Igbo (okwe oyibo); Indonesian (kelor); Lao (Sino-Tibetan) ('ii h'um); Malay (sajina,merunggai); Mandinka (nebedayo); Nepali (shobhanjan,sohijan); Sanskrit (shobhanjana); Spanish (paraíso blanco,paraíso frances,reseda); Swahili (mronge,mzunze,mlonge,mrongo); Tamil (murunga,murangai); Thai (makhonkom,ma-rum,phakihum); Urdu (sahjnao); Vietnamese (chùm ngây); Yoruba (ewe-igbale)
Moringa oleifera is a small, graceful, deciduous tree with sparse foliage, often resembling a leguminous species at a distance, especially when in flower, but immediately recognized when in fruit. The tree grows to 8 m high and 60 cm dbh. Bole crooked, often forked from near the base. Bark smooth, dark grey; slash thin, yellowish. Twigs and shoots shortly but densely hairy. Crown wide, open, typically umbrella shaped and usually a single stem; often deep rooted. The wood is soft. Leaves alternate, the old ones soon falling off; each leaf large (up to about 90 cm long), with opposite pinnae, spaced about 5 cm apart up the central stalk, usually with a 2nd lot of pinnae, also opposite, bearing leaflets in opposite pairs, with a slightly larger terminal leaflet. Leaflets dark green above and pale on the under surface; variable in size and shape, but often rounded-elliptic, seldom as much as 2.5 cm long. Flowers produced throughout the year, in loose axillary panicles up to 15 cm long; individual flower stalks up to 12 mm long and very slender; 5 pale green sepals 12 mm long, finely hairy, 5 white petals, unequal, a little longer than the sepals; 5 stamens with anthers, 5 without; style slender, flowers very sweet smelling. Fruit large and distinctive, up to 90 cm long and 12 mm broad, slightly constricted at intervals, gradually tapering to a point, 3- (4-) angled, with 2 grooves on each face, light brown. It splits along each angle to expose the rows of rounded blackish oily seeds, each with 3 papery wings. The generic name comes from the Sinhalese name ‘morunga’.