Ice-cream grows on a shade tree
Who would have thought ice-cream grows on trees?
There is a tree that has long pods that taste just like vanilla ice-cream.
It’s a big, spreading tree with white and yellow pompom-type flowers that develop into long pods.
Inside the pods are hard black seeds surrounded by a juicy white pulp that tastes very much like vanilla ice-cream.
The pods look similar to a tamarind pod.
The botanical name is inga edulis and it is native to Central America and South America.
It is a big tree, growing 10m-15m high, with a spread of 8m.
Another benefit of this tree is that it produces nitrogen-fixing nodules on the root system, adding nitrogen to surrounding soil.
Inga trees grow in warm regions and are not frost-tolerant.
In some parts of Queensland and NSW, they can become a weed, so they are not recommended for the Kimberley region where they may become a pest.
If you have children and the space to grow an inga tree, they will love it.
It’s a healthy treat for them and also provides them with a shady spot to play.
When it comes to pruning, you can go pretty hard, even coppice them to near-ground level.
If you do not want to go that hard, just prune them so they retain a manageable size and a more compact shape. It’s win-win all round when you think about it — extra nitrogen for the soil, healthy food for the children and shade for the garden.
Inga edulis is available from most garden centres.
The pods of the Inga edulis tree, native to Central and South America, have a juicy white pulp that tastes like vanilla ice-cream.