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¿Dónde cultivar el árbol milagro, Moringa oleifera, en México? Un análisis de su distribución potencial
- Olson, Mark E., Alvarado-Cárdenas, Leonardo O.
- Revista mexicana de biodiversidad 2016 v.87 no.3 pp. 1089-1102
- Moringa oleifera, acreage, altitude, climate, coasts, functional foods, herbaria, models, plant growth, rain, temperature, trees, tropical and subtropical horticulture, India, Mexico
- Native to India, the “miracle tree” Moringa oleifera has been a part of lowland tropical horticulture in Mexico for centuries, where it is mostly grown as an ornamental. With recent recognition of its nutritional, nutraceutical, and industrial properties, there is increasing interest in cultivating the plant beyond its current use as street or patio trees. Based on an extensive compilation of herbarium and our own field observations, we use a tool known as potential distribution modeling to identify the parts of the country with optimal climate for growing moringa. The plant grows best in areas with mean minimum temperatures above 15°C, low rainfall below 1,000mm, and at low elevations below 600 m. This combination of characteristics is found mostly in the dry tropical heartland of the Balsas Depression and the tropical Pacific coast. The states with the greatest suitable acreage for moringa cultivation are Guerrero, Michoacán, Oaxaca and Jalisco, with nine additional states having some suitable acreage. We give a list of 222 Mexican counties by state with optimal climate for moringa cultivation and discuss strategies for cultivating the plant in areas with suboptimal climates.