Inga uruguensis, more commonly known as Inga banana, is a hardy and easy to look after shrub native to Central and Southern America that typically reaches between 5 and 10 feet tall. This desirable and ornamental plant needs full sun and regular water to ensure its healthy growth and bountiful display of beautiful yellow, orange flowers. Hardiest in USDA Zones 9-11, Inga banana is an incredibly versatile plant with its edible fruits that can be enjoyed raw or cooked and offer many health benefits.
In the right conditions, Inga banana fruits abundantly, and depending on the variety, can produce up to 150 fruits annually. The fruit is long and slender with a yellow skin that is 2-4 inches long and slightly sweet tasting. The natural sweetness of the fruit makes it a great addition to several dishes such as salads, oatmeal, and smoothies, with some even being used as an ingredient in ice cream and snacks.
In addition to its great taste, Inga banana is also incredibly nutritious with high levels of vitamins A, B, and C and minerals like magnesium, potassium and zinc. It is also a rich source of dietary fibre, which can help to reduce cholesterol, and antioxidants that can be beneficial for improving the immune system to fight off diseases.
For those living in cooler climates, Inga banana can be grown successfully in pots and containers, although it will need to be protected from extreme cold. During the winter months, it's necessary to keep the Inga banana in a location that is warm, shaded, and moist where it is protected from temperatures that drop below freezing. With the right care, Inga banana is an attractive and easy to maintain tree that will reward you with an abundance of delicious and nutritious fruits.