Inga cumingiana Benth.
Inga feuillei DC.
Common Name: Pacay
The white seed coating is a sweet treat
Photograph by: Dick Culbert
Pacay is a large tree with a spreading crown that can grow 18 metres or more tall[
The fruit is widely appreciated in S. America, where the plant has been cultivated as a food crop and street tree since the time of the Incas - it is still grown for these purposes today[
]. It is the only member of the genus that is cultivated for its seedpods outside the natural range of the genus[
]. The plant is unknown as a wild tree[
Western S. America - Colombia to northern Chile.
Not known in a truly wild location
A plant of the hot, humid, lowland tropics, where it can also be found at elevations up to 1,800 metres[
]. It grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are within the range 22 - 28°c, but can tolerate 18 - 33°c[
]. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 1,500 - 2,700mm, but tolerates 1,000 - 3,000mm[
Tolerant of a range of soil conditions, including limestone[
]. Prefers a pH in the range 5 - 6.5, tolerating 4 -8[
In the Andean mountains the tree produces a crop twice a year[
This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria, these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby[
The long seedpod contains a white, sugar-rich, frothy pulp surrounding the seeds[
]. It is widely eaten as a snack in Peru and Ecuador[
The wood of Inga species is generally attractive, but it has a coarse texture, is susceptible to attack by dry-wood termites and is not durable in the soil[
Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe and before it dries out[
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