Tuesday, September 09, 2014

The Inga Bean and the Ice Cream Tree

ABC Wednesday
September 10th, 2014
The letter is I - for the Inga bean and the Ice Cream Tree


Oh, do you know the Ice Cream Tree, the Ice Cream Tree
The Ice Cream Tree

Oh do you know the Ice Cream Tree, - it lives in Peru
and all sorts of other tropical places that are warm
and damp and swampy.

Any climate that does not dip below freezing is friendly to the Ice Cream Tree
(well, that makes sense!)  It has great appeal and is found in many of the warmer parts of the world.
Definitely not a desert tree it prefers shaded spots and finds the driest months
of summer too harsh.  The monsoon months of summer are much more soothing.

And it grows beans that quite often are at least a metre long and is also known
in some parts as the Inga Bean, and in other parts as the Pacay Tree.

Wonderful beans that are naturally perfectly packaged,  ready to delight as one devours them.

To eat them 'one has to break them like snapping a stick, which is relatively easy, and then peal back the sides.  The edible wedges can then be taken out one by one and eaten.  Each wedge contains a seed which separates cleanly from the fiber around it'.  

It is light and refreshing with a hint of vanilla and a mildly sweet flavor.

The tree itself is native to the Brazilian Amazon.  It grows along river banks,
has wide spreading branches and
bears beautiful white and yellow pom pom flowers when in bloom.
very fragrant and arranged in crowded heads, rich in nectar and
most attractive to bees and humming birds.

Besides providing delectable dessert the tree is medically inclined.
A concoction of the bark is favourable in treating
dropsy and bowel irritations, and provides a lotion for arthritis and rheumatism.

It improves sight, relieves coughing, and the seeds are a good source of protein

A wonderful shade tree, it is a strong wood and provides building
material for beams.   It produces a permanent mulch which encourages rooting.

And most importantly, although lacking in potassium and magnesium,
 it is "nitrogen fixed", providing nitrogen to the soil rather than taking it away.

Truly a friendly tree!!

For more interesting takes on the letter 'I' visit here at ABC Wednesday
with thanks to Roger, Denise and all iconic helpersw.


Reader Wil said...

Very interesting trees, Hildred! I should like to have an Ice Cream tree in my backyard!!
have a great week Hildred!
Wil, ABCW Team

MERYL JAFFE, PhD - parent, psychologist, teacher, author... said...

OH how INTERSTING!!! And so beautifully told, I almost sang it.

Photo Cache said...

wow, what a very fascinating tree. i haven't encountered this tree yet.


Susan Moore said...

What an extraordinary tree and one I had never heard of before. You have taught me something new and fascinating once again Hildred! Now I want to be off to Brazil to try some inga beans and enjoy the fragrance of the blooms on the ice cream tree.

Roger Owen Green said...



Rajesh said...

I had never heard of this ice cream tree. My kids would love it.

Lmkazmierczak said...

What a lovely presentation...enjoyed my visit♪ http://lauriekazmierczak.com/inspired-by-legos/

ChrisJ said...

What an interesting post! I'd love to taste the bean -- or at least its insides. I am really interested in all kinds of trees.

Cristina Pop said...

How interesting are these trees!

SamuraiFrog said...

I've never heard of these in my life, but now I'm interesting and wish I could try some inga beans and just smell these blooms.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

What a wonderful thing it would be to have one of those in your backyard. It truly is astounding how many different tropical fruits there are -- I'd never heard of this one.