Inga trees are very common and one of the most recognizable trees. It usually grows near river-edges or on well-drained soil. Inga trees are also known as:
- Ice-cream Beans (because of its sweet flavor)
- Whitie (named after the white pulp covering the seeds)
- Swit Bontjie (Surinamese name for the sweet pulp)
Inga trees produce a lot of seeds in bean-like pods. The seeds are covered with cotton like pulp that are lightly fibrous, sweet and rich in minerals. The sweet pulp is favorite amongst children as it is edible in raw state. In Suriname you can find almost anywhere an Inga tree full of these fruits and if not they are always sold in markets.
Inga fruits are an important food source for both humans and animals. They attract a lot of animals when there is plenty of food. Just to name a few:
- Large and small Macaws
The white blossoming flowers also attract:
Inga trees that grow near river-edges are also an ideal spot for ant wrens and hummingbirds to build their nest and raise their chicks safely.
Nests that I've often spotted were from:
- the Crimson Topaz
- the Guianan Streaked Antwren
So next time when you try to spot some animals, try to find a blossoming Inga tree full of fruit. You're in for a real treat.