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common in riverine thickets and in wooded swamps, sometimes even below the high-water mark. They exhibit better growth rates on clayey or loamy soils.
Inga is a large, widespread genus of about 350–400 species, and its taxonomic distinctions are uncertain at present. Most are shrubs and trees of tropical and subtropical America. The majority are similar to I. feuillei, differing mainly in the fruit form and other botanical details. Most have the characteristic sweet pulp. A few examples are mentioned below.
This is the best known of all Inga species. It is commonly used as a plantation shade tree throughout Central America, and its pods are widely eaten.
As noted, research at Yurimaguas, Peru, indicates that this is a highly promising species for alley cropping on acid soils in the lowland humid tropics.
One of the best fruits of Costa Rica, it is planted widely for shade and fruit.
The huge pods (about 70 cm long) are sold in the markets of Costa Rica.
An attractive Costa Rican ornamental, this species has large spikes of fragrant flowers that bloom more than once a year. For this reason, it is much appreciated by beekeepers.
Inga brenesii, Inga punctata, Inga densiflora, Inga oerstediana
All are used as shade trees in coffee and cacao plantations, and all have edible fruit.
This is a good ornamental with attractive reddish new leaves and tasty fruit.
The most popular inga fruits in Mexico (especially in Veracruz, where there are many coffee plantations) are I. jinicuil (or inicuil), the most well known, followed by I. sapendoides and I. paterno.
There are numerous species in the Amazon that are edible.