Feuilleea quaternata (Poepp.) Kuntze
Inga maxoniana Pittier
Inga mutisii Britton & Killip
Inga pardoana Harms
Inga roussoviana Pittier
Inga santanderensis Britton & Killip
Inga schippii Standl.
Inga williamsii Pittier
Inga quaternata is an evergreen shrub tree with a dense round or spreading crown growing 4.5 - 15 metres tall. The straight, cylindrical bole can be 25cm in diameter[
]. It sometimes branches from low down, or can be unbranched for up to half its height[
The tree is mainly used to provide shade in coffee plantations, though it does also provide an edible fruit and fuel.
S. America - Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia; C. America - Panama to Mexico; Caribbean - Puerto Rico.
Wet lowlands at elevations from sea level to 600 metres[
]. In clearings or along the margins of forests, at elevations from 100 - 1,50 metres[
|Other Uses Rating||
|Cultivation Status||Cultivated, Wild
A fast-growing tree, it can reach a height of 7.5 metres within 5 years from seed[
The plant can flower and fruit irregularly throughout the 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[
Fruit - raw[
]. A sweet-flavoured white pulp surrounds the seeds, but it is rather thin and so seldom used[
]. The seedpod can be 3 - 18cm long and 2 - 3cm wide[
The tree grows rapidly, casts a dense shade, and fixes atmospheric nitrogen. It has been used for providing shade in coffee plantations[
]. When first cultivated, the tree was thought to be immune to attack by hormiguilla, an insect
pest found on a related native species in Puerto Rico. It has since proved susceptible; but as the tree is very adaptable, survives well, provides a low shade at an early age, and is very easily propagated, it probably will continue to be used for this purpose[
Inga species generally have a number of factors that make them popular for use as shade trees in coffee and cacao plantations:- they grow quickly and so soon make an effecte shade; they respond well to drastic pruning and so are easy to keep within the required size and shade levels; they promote and maintain soil fertility; they are effective soil stabilizers[
The heartwood is brown; clearly demarcated from the sapwood which is yellowish brown with slaty gray areas caused by sap stain. The wood is straight-grained; medium or coarse-textured ; light in weight and soft, to moderately heavy and compact[
The wood is only used for fuel[
If you have any useful information about this plant, please leave a comment. Comments have to be approved before they are shown here.