ICE CREAM BEAN TREE
In January and February the inga bean tree ( Inga edulis) is covered in white pohutukawa like blooms. This attractive tree, also known as the ice cream bean tree, produces tamarind-like pods that are filled with sweet, candyfloss-textured white pulp. The pulp tastes like vanilla icecream and can be eaten straight from the pod or used to flavour desserts. The fruit ripens from May to July on trees that are at least three years old. Why not try growing your own? Plants prefer a sunny spot but they will grow in partial shade. They’ll tolerate a light frost only, so position in a protected part of the garden. Plants also tolerate brief periods of drought. The inga bean tree is an excellent shade and fruit tree for the back yard. While it can reach a height of 15m in its natural habitat in the Brazilian Amazon, in New Zealand it reaches only 6-8m tall. Look for this plant at garden centres, or from specialist online nurseries.