Inga vera (L.) Britton
Source: James A. Duke. 1983. Handbook of Energy Crops. unpublished.
- Folk Medicine
- Yields and Economics
- Biotic Factors
Frequently used as a shade tree for coffee and cacao, and as an avenue shade
tree. The seeds are surrounded by an edible pulp, often consumed on the spot.
With flowers rich in nectar and attractive to bees, the guaba is a good honey
producer. The timber is used for boxes, crates, furniture, general carpentry,
and light construction. According to Little and Wadsworth (1964), however, the
wood is used almost solely for posts, fuel, and charcoal.
Reported to be astringent and diuretic.
Per 100 g, the aril of one species of Inga is reported to contain (ZMB):
353 calories, 5.9 g protein, 0.6 g fat, 91.1 g total carbohydrate, 7.1 g fiber,
2.4 g ash, 123 mg Ca, 118 mg P, 5.3 mg Fe, 1 mg b-carotene equivalent, 0.24
mg thiamine, 0.35 mg riboflavin, 2.35 mg niacin, and 53 mg ascorbic acid. The
species was reported under non-hemagglutinating (Toms and Western, 1971).
Evergreen tree to 20 m tall to nearly 0.5 m (some say 1 m) in diameter, the
crown widely spreading but thin. The bark is gray brown, smooth at first,
becoming finely fissured. Leaves paripinnate, hairy, the rhachis winged, with
35 pairs of leaflets, each with a gland between them; leaflets 515 cm long,
2.57 cm long, entire. Flower clusters lateral, whitish, with long filiform
stamens to 7.5 cm long, soon wilting. Corolla greenish-yellow, hairy, calyx
brownish-green, hairy, 5-toothed, often splitting on one side. Pod brown,
densely hairy, 1015 cm long, slightly four-ribbed, rounded, the few brown
seeds imbedded in the whitish edible pulp.
Reported from the West Indian Center of Diversity, guaba, or cvs thereof, is
reported to tolerate drought and limestone.
Hispaniola, Jamaica, and Puerto Rico, widely introduced elsewhere (Little and
Ranging from Tropical Very Dry to Wet through Subtropical Dry to Wet Forest
Life Zones, guaba is reported to tolerate annual precipitation of 9.8 to 40.2
dm (mean of 39 cases18.4), annual temperature of 18.0 to 27.7°C (mean of
33 cases = 25.1), and estimated pH of 6 to 8.5.
Seeds should be separated from the fermentable pulp shortly after collecting.
Pods are macerated and the seeds separated, using copious amounts of water.
Seeds germinate rapidly, sometimes even viviparously, but are short-lived,
especially when dried.
Trees tend to flower and fruit all year in Puerto Rico, with most of the fruits
appearing in fall (SeptemberOctober). Trees coppice well (NAS, 1980a).
A fast growing species, the trunk diameter often grows more than 2.5 cm in
diameter per year. It is said to produce coffee shade within 3 years.
The moderately heavy wood (specific gravity 0.57) makes excellent fuel and is
used for charcoal throughout the West Indies.
Agriculture Handbook No. 165 lists the following diseases for Inga vera:
Bitzea ingae (rust), Catacauma ingae (black mildew),
Cephaleuros virescens (green scruf), Diatractium ingae, Irenopsis
toruloidea (black mildew), Melasmia ingae (on leaves), Meliola
chagres (black mildew), Microstroma ingaicola (witches'-broom),
Microthyrium ingae (on leaves), Mycosphaerella maculiformis (on
fallen leaves), Omphalia flavida (leaf spot), Paradiopsis ingarum
(black mildew), Paradiopsis stevensii, Perisporina truncatum (black
mildew), Phyllachora amphibola (on leaves), Ravenelia ingae
(rust), Rosellinia bunodes (root rot), Scolecodothopsis ingae
(black spot), Scolecopeltis ingae (black spot), and Septoideum
stevensii (on leaves). The wood is very susceptible to attack by drywood
termites and other insects and to decay in contact with the ground.
Complete list of references for Duke, Handbook of Energy Crops
- Little, E.L., Jr., and Wadsworth, F.H. 1964. Common trees of Puerto Rico and
the Virgin Islands. Ag. Handbook 249, USDA, Washington, DC.
- N.A.S. 1980a. Firewood crops. Shrub and tree species for energy production.
National Academy of Sciences, Washington, DC.
- Toms, G.C. and Western, A. 1971. Phytoaemagglutinins. p. 367462. In: Harborne,
J.B., Boulter, D., and Turner, B.L. (eds.), Chemotaxonomy of the Leguminosae.
Academic Press, New York.
Last update Wednesday, January 7, 1998 by aw