Ice Cream Bean

Inga edulis (eng. ice-cream-bean, Joaquiniquil, Mex. cuaniquil, guama or guaba) is a fruit native to South America. It is widely grown, especially by indigenous Amazonians, for shade, food, timber, medicine, and production of the alcoholic beverage cachiri. It is popular in Peru, Ecuador, Pernambuco-Brazil and Colombia. The name ‘inga’ is derived from its name with the Tupí people of South America.


Mature trees of Inga edulis reach 30 m (98 ft) high and 60 cm (2.0 ft) diameter at breast height, usually branching from below 3 m (9.8 ft). The branches form a broad, flat, moderately dense canopy. The pods contain black seeds which are embedded in a thick white juicy pulp that tastes slightly like vanilla ice cream.


This plant has a convoluted history of synonymy with Inga vera. The plants discussed under that name by Brenan and Kunth are actually I. edulis, whereas that based on the writings of Carl Ludwig Willdenow refers to the actual I. vera. Inga edulis in works referring back to authorities other than von Martius usually refers to Inga feuilleei.

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