Averrhoa carambola


Family: Belongs to the Oxalidaceae family, which includes Bilimbi or Cucumber Fruit (Averrhoa bilimbi).

Description: Small to medium size, slow growing tree, up to 11 m tall (35 ft); specimens seen in economic section of Gardens; leaves alternate, odd-pinnately compound with 3 to 11 ovate leaflets; flowers small, variegated white and purple, fragrant, born in cymose inflorescences in leaf axils or laterally on stems; fruit an edible berry, ovoid, fleshy, a 5-pointed-star in cross-section, 8-13 cm long (3-5 in); ripe fruit yellow, aromatic, very juicy, with sweet-acid taste; one variety has sweet, sub-acid fruit, increasingly seen in metropolitan markets.

Natural Habitat: Warm tropics from sea level to 2000ft, growing successfully on soils ranging from sands to clays; propagation usually by seed, but budding and grafting possible, and generally preferable for propagation of sweet variety; seedling trees fruit in 4-6 years, grafted trees in under a year.

Origin and Distribution: Has never been found in the wild, but native to Indonesia and long cultivated in India and Southeast Asia.

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