Ice-cream bean

Botanical name: Inga edulis

Crown and root system: This is tall and impressive tree with an extensive, but non-invasive, root system.  It is excellent for use as a pioneer tree in a garden because of its rapid rate of growth.

Growing regions: All over the country except for areas that are especially cold.

Fruit and ripening date:  Ripens during the summer months.  Its fruit consists of large pods, and the edible portion is the sweet coating around the beans.

Planting in a container: Not possible.

Recommended planting season: All year round, except for the middle of winter.

 Good to know:
During the 19th century, growers in South America used the ice-cream bean trees to shade the coffee and cacao plants, which do not like direct sunlight.  The farmers liked to eat the sweet coating that covered the beans, and since that time it has also been called “Indian marshmallow.”