ICE CREAM BEAN TREE

NZ Gardener - Garden Diary 2018 - - Thrives On Neglect -

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.

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