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Useful Tropical Plants

Inga laurina

(Sw.) Willd.

Fabaceae

+ Synonyms

Inga fagifolia (L.) Benth.

Inga tetraphylla (Vell.) Mart.

Mimosa fagifolia L.

Mimosa laurina Sw.

Common Name: Guama

Inga laurina
Flower buds
Photograph by: Environmental Sciences Program, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute
© Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute
Inga laurina Inga laurina Inga laurina Inga laurina Inga laurina Inga laurina

General Information

Guama is an evergreen tree with an dense, low, rounded crown, that can grow up to 20 metres tall, but is usually smaller. The straight, cylindrical bole can be 50 - 70cm in diameter[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
,
335
Title
Perennial Edible Fruits of the Tropics : an Inventory
Publication
 
Author
Martin, F. W.; Campbell, C. W.; Rubertbe, R. M.
Publisher
U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service
Year
1987
ISBN
 
Description
A booklet giving terse details of almost 300 species of edible fruits, plus regional lists of Botanical and Common names for over 2,500 less well-known edible fruits of the tropics.
,
420
Title
Brazilian Trees. Volume 2. 4th Edition.
Publication
 
Author
Lorenzi. H.
Publisher
Instituto Plantarum De Estudos Da Flora; Brazil.
Year
2002
ISBN
85-86714-15-1
Description
Information on 350 species of Brazilian trees. Stunning photographs of each species, brief details on the plant, its uses and how to grow it from seed. A superb work, with the minor irritation that the translation from Portuguese is not of the best.
,
447
Title
Common Trees of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands
Publication
 
Author
Little E.L.; Wadsworth F.H.
Publisher
USDA, Forest Service; Washington.
Year
1964
ISBN
 
Description
Contains detailed information, and usually an illustration, on 250 tree species, including both native and exotic species.
].
The edible fruit is sometimes gathered from the wild for local use, though it is not as widely appreciated as some other members of the genus[
416
Title
Brazilian Fruits and Cultivated Exotics
Publication
 
Author
Lorenzi. H.; Bacher. L.; Lacerda. M.; Sartori. S.
Publisher
Instituto Plantarum De Estudos Da Flora LTDA; Brazil.
Year
2000
ISBN
85-867174-24-0
Description
A superb book, giving information on several hundred fruit species. Each entry has a brief description of the plant and its uses, accompanied by one to many excellent quality photographs of the fruits.
]. The tree is also commonly planted as a shade tree for coffee and cocoa plantations, and is sometimes grown as an ornamental[
307
Title
Tropical and Subtropical Trees - A Worldwide Encyclopaedic Guide.
Publication
 
Author
Barwick. M.
Publisher
Thames & Hudson, London
Year
2004
ISBN
0-500-51181-0
Description
A superb book, very concise and well written, giving a wealth of information on 400 or more species including descriptions, habitat, cultivation details and plant uses. A wealth of colour photographs bring each plant vividly to life.
,
317
Title
Mansfeld's Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Plants
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://mansfeld.ipk-gatersleben.de/pls/htmldb_pgrc/f?p=185:3:4292127278597336
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Terse details of a huge range of useful plants.
,
416
Title
Brazilian Fruits and Cultivated Exotics
Publication
 
Author
Lorenzi. H.; Bacher. L.; Lacerda. M.; Sartori. S.
Publisher
Instituto Plantarum De Estudos Da Flora LTDA; Brazil.
Year
2000
ISBN
85-867174-24-0
Description
A superb book, giving information on several hundred fruit species. Each entry has a brief description of the plant and its uses, accompanied by one to many excellent quality photographs of the fruits.
].

Known Hazards

None known

Botanical References

200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
,
331
Title
Flora of Guatemala
Publication
 
Author
Standley P.C. & J. A. Steyermark
Website
http://www.archive.org/
Publisher
 
Year
1946 - 1976
ISBN
 
Description
A superb reference, though somewhat dated. Gives lots of plant uses as well as information on plant habit and habitat. The entire flora (13 volumes) can now be downloaded from http://www.archive.org/
,
408
Title
Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden Vol. 53
Publication
 
Author
 
Publisher
Missouri Botanical Garden
Year
1966
ISBN
 
Description
Contains an excellent treament of a section of the genus Inga. An excellent botanical publication, available for download from the Internet.

Range

Tropical America - West Indies, Central America, south to southern Brazil.

Habitat

Moist lowland limestone areas[
307
Title
Tropical and Subtropical Trees - A Worldwide Encyclopaedic Guide.
Publication
 
Author
Barwick. M.
Publisher
Thames & Hudson, London
Year
2004
ISBN
0-500-51181-0
Description
A superb book, very concise and well written, giving a wealth of information on 400 or more species including descriptions, habitat, cultivation details and plant uses. A wealth of colour photographs bring each plant vividly to life.
]. Wet to semi-dry forests, or highland savannas[
408
Title
Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden Vol. 53
Publication
 
Author
 
Publisher
Missouri Botanical Garden
Year
1966
ISBN
 
Description
Contains an excellent treament of a section of the genus Inga. An excellent botanical publication, available for download from the Internet.
]. Found in a variety of habitats from dry scrublands in some Caribbean islands to the rain forest or the wet cloudy forests of Central American highlands[
408
Title
Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden Vol. 53
Publication
 
Author
 
Publisher
Missouri Botanical Garden
Year
1966
ISBN
 
Description
Contains an excellent treament of a section of the genus Inga. An excellent botanical publication, available for download from the Internet.
].

Properties

Edibility Rating *  *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *
HabitEvergreen Tree
Height9.00 m
Cultivation StatusCultivated, Ornamental, Wild

Cultivation Details

A plant of the hot, wet, tropical lowlands[
335
Title
Perennial Edible Fruits of the Tropics : an Inventory
Publication
 
Author
Martin, F. W.; Campbell, C. W.; Rubertbe, R. M.
Publisher
U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service
Year
1987
ISBN
 
Description
A booklet giving terse details of almost 300 species of edible fruits, plus regional lists of Botanical and Common names for over 2,500 less well-known edible fruits of the tropics.
]. It can also be found at higher elevations, and is one of the few members of this genus that will grow well in rather dry climates[
408
Title
Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden Vol. 53
Publication
 
Author
 
Publisher
Missouri Botanical Garden
Year
1966
ISBN
 
Description
Contains an excellent treament of a section of the genus Inga. An excellent botanical publication, available for download from the Internet.
].
Prefers a sunny position[
420
Title
Brazilian Trees. Volume 2. 4th Edition.
Publication
 
Author
Lorenzi. H.
Publisher
Instituto Plantarum De Estudos Da Flora; Brazil.
Year
2002
ISBN
85-86714-15-1
Description
Information on 350 species of Brazilian trees. Stunning photographs of each species, brief details on the plant, its uses and how to grow it from seed. A superb work, with the minor irritation that the translation from Portuguese is not of the best.
]. Tolerant of a range of soil conditions, including limestone[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].
A very variable plant, due in part to its wide range and variety of habitats[
408
Title
Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden Vol. 53
Publication
 
Author
 
Publisher
Missouri Botanical Garden
Year
1966
ISBN
 
Description
Contains an excellent treament of a section of the genus Inga. An excellent botanical publication, available for download from the Internet.
].
The plant can flower and fruit throughout the year[
447
Title
Common Trees of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands
Publication
 
Author
Little E.L.; Wadsworth F.H.
Publisher
USDA, Forest Service; Washington.
Year
1964
ISBN
 
Description
Contains detailed information, and usually an illustration, on 250 tree species, including both native and exotic species.
].
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[
755
Title
Nodulation Plants in GRIN Taxonomy
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.ars-grin.gov/~sbmljw/cgi-bin/taxnodul.pl?language=en
Publisher
United States Department of Agriculture
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An online database listing plants that have either positive or negative reports on root and stem nodulation with nitrogen-fixing bacteria.
].

Edible Uses

Fruit - raw[
420
Title
Brazilian Trees. Volume 2. 4th Edition.
Publication
 
Author
Lorenzi. H.
Publisher
Instituto Plantarum De Estudos Da Flora; Brazil.
Year
2002
ISBN
85-86714-15-1
Description
Information on 350 species of Brazilian trees. Stunning photographs of each species, brief details on the plant, its uses and how to grow it from seed. A superb work, with the minor irritation that the translation from Portuguese is not of the best.
]. The sweet, white, slightly aromatic flesh surrounding the seeds in the seedpod is eaten[
301
Title
Cornucopia II
Publication
 
Author
Facciola. S.
Publisher
Kampong Publications, California.
Year
1998
ISBN
0-9628087-2-5
Description
The second edition of an excellent guide to the edible uses of plants, though it does not give any details of cultivation etc.
,
335
Title
Perennial Edible Fruits of the Tropics : an Inventory
Publication
 
Author
Martin, F. W.; Campbell, C. W.; Rubertbe, R. M.
Publisher
U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service
Year
1987
ISBN
 
Description
A booklet giving terse details of almost 300 species of edible fruits, plus regional lists of Botanical and Common names for over 2,500 less well-known edible fruits of the tropics.
]. There is very little flesh around each seed[
447
Title
Common Trees of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands
Publication
 
Author
Little E.L.; Wadsworth F.H.
Publisher
USDA, Forest Service; Washington.
Year
1964
ISBN
 
Description
Contains detailed information, and usually an illustration, on 250 tree species, including both native and exotic species.
]. The seedpods are 6 - 12cm long and 4 - 8cm wide[
335
Title
Perennial Edible Fruits of the Tropics : an Inventory
Publication
 
Author
Martin, F. W.; Campbell, C. W.; Rubertbe, R. M.
Publisher
U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service
Year
1987
ISBN
 
Description
A booklet giving terse details of almost 300 species of edible fruits, plus regional lists of Botanical and Common names for over 2,500 less well-known edible fruits of the tropics.
].

Seeds - a flavour somewhat like almonds[
301
Title
Cornucopia II
Publication
 
Author
Facciola. S.
Publisher
Kampong Publications, California.
Year
1998
ISBN
0-9628087-2-5
Description
The second edition of an excellent guide to the edible uses of plants, though it does not give any details of cultivation etc.
].

Medicinal

None known

Agroforestry Uses:

Providing excellent shade, as well as fixing atmospheric nitrogen, the tree is grown as a shade tree in coffee and cacao plantations[
307
Title
Tropical and Subtropical Trees - A Worldwide Encyclopaedic Guide.
Publication
 
Author
Barwick. M.
Publisher
Thames & Hudson, London
Year
2004
ISBN
0-500-51181-0
Description
A superb book, very concise and well written, giving a wealth of information on 400 or more species including descriptions, habitat, cultivation details and plant uses. A wealth of colour photographs bring each plant vividly to life.
,
317
Title
Mansfeld's Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Plants
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://mansfeld.ipk-gatersleben.de/pls/htmldb_pgrc/f?p=185:3:4292127278597336
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Terse details of a huge range of useful plants.
,
420
Title
Brazilian Trees. Volume 2. 4th Edition.
Publication
 
Author
Lorenzi. H.
Publisher
Instituto Plantarum De Estudos Da Flora; Brazil.
Year
2002
ISBN
85-86714-15-1
Description
Information on 350 species of Brazilian trees. Stunning photographs of each species, brief details on the plant, its uses and how to grow it from seed. A superb work, with the minor irritation that the translation from Portuguese is not of the best.
,
447
Title
Common Trees of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands
Publication
 
Author
Little E.L.; Wadsworth F.H.
Publisher
USDA, Forest Service; Washington.
Year
1964
ISBN
 
Description
Contains detailed information, and usually an illustration, on 250 tree species, including both native and exotic species.
].
The flowers are an important source of nectar for bees[
447
Title
Common Trees of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands
Publication
 
Author
Little E.L.; Wadsworth F.H.
Publisher
USDA, Forest Service; Washington.
Year
1964
ISBN
 
Description
Contains detailed information, and usually an illustration, on 250 tree species, including both native and exotic species.
].

Other Uses

The heartwood is an attractive pale reddish brown, often streaked with darker brown; the sapwood is whitish[
447
Title
Common Trees of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands
Publication
 
Author
Little E.L.; Wadsworth F.H.
Publisher
USDA, Forest Service; Washington.
Year
1964
ISBN
 
Description
Contains detailed information, and usually an illustration, on 250 tree species, including both native and exotic species.
]. The wood is of medium to thick-texture, straight-grained, moderately heavy, soft, of little mechanical resistance and with poor durability. It is only used for low quality items such as boxes[
420
Title
Brazilian Trees. Volume 2. 4th Edition.
Publication
 
Author
Lorenzi. H.
Publisher
Instituto Plantarum De Estudos Da Flora; Brazil.
Year
2002
ISBN
85-86714-15-1
Description
Information on 350 species of Brazilian trees. Stunning photographs of each species, brief details on the plant, its uses and how to grow it from seed. A superb work, with the minor irritation that the translation from Portuguese is not of the best.
]. Another report, from Puerto Rico, says that the wood is seldom used, but it is moderately hard, strong, tough and easily worked and that it can be used for furniture, cabinet making, tool handles, interior trim, general carpentry, heavy construction etc[
447
Title
Common Trees of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands
Publication
 
Author
Little E.L.; Wadsworth F.H.
Publisher
USDA, Forest Service; Washington.
Year
1964
ISBN
 
Description
Contains detailed information, and usually an illustration, on 250 tree species, including both native and exotic species.
].
The wood is used for fuel and to make charcoal[
420
Title
Brazilian Trees. Volume 2. 4th Edition.
Publication
 
Author
Lorenzi. H.
Publisher
Instituto Plantarum De Estudos Da Flora; Brazil.
Year
2002
ISBN
85-86714-15-1
Description
Information on 350 species of Brazilian trees. Stunning photographs of each species, brief details on the plant, its uses and how to grow it from seed. A superb work, with the minor irritation that the translation from Portuguese is not of the best.
].

Propagation

Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe[
420
Title
Brazilian Trees. Volume 2. 4th Edition.
Publication
 
Author
Lorenzi. H.
Publisher
Instituto Plantarum De Estudos Da Flora; Brazil.
Year
2002
ISBN
85-86714-15-1
Description
Information on 350 species of Brazilian trees. Stunning photographs of each species, brief details on the plant, its uses and how to grow it from seed. A superb work, with the minor irritation that the translation from Portuguese is not of the best.
]. Sow in a lightly shaded position in a nursery seedbed. A high rate of germination can be expected, with the seeds sprouting within 15 - 20 days. Transplant the seedlings to individual containers when they have 4 - 6 leaves and they should be ready for planting out 4 - 5 months later[
420
Title
Brazilian Trees. Volume 2. 4th Edition.
Publication
 
Author
Lorenzi. H.
Publisher
Instituto Plantarum De Estudos Da Flora; Brazil.
Year
2002
ISBN
85-86714-15-1
Description
Information on 350 species of Brazilian trees. Stunning photographs of each species, brief details on the plant, its uses and how to grow it from seed. A superb work, with the minor irritation that the translation from Portuguese is not of the best.
].
Greenwood cuttings.

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