Ice Cream Bean, Inga Edulus
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Thursday December 5, 2019

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Ice Cream Bean, Inga Edulus

In English they have been called "Ice cream Beans" due to the sweet flavor and smooth texture of the pulp.

The seeds are also edible. Cooked or in acid brine. Goes good with chelas. Another local name i know it by is tama tama. Tama-tama is also a species of Bri-bri/Inga - some call it Local Bri-bri. We have 2 trees in our backyard. They are known as inga paterna, the locals call it Paterna.

The most likely species in the photograph is one of I. jinincuil, I. densiflora, or I. spectabilis. All not native to Belize, cultivated only where present in Belize. Leaves would make the ID more possible. There are other possible ones from S. America, but less likely. Inga vera (the species that grows along rivers, wild, not so edible), Inga oerstediana (in rainforest, wild, not so edible), and Inga edulis (cultivated only in Belize, very edible, native to South America) are all closely related to each other and fruits look very similar, but only I. edulis has a thick coating (sarcotesta, derived from the seed coat) on the seed. These are very different from what is in the photograph above. There are 13 native Inga species in Belize.

Photograph by Joanna McKinney

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