Characteristics of Starfruit Tree (Averrhoa carambola) in the Wild

Averrhoa carambola
Starfruit or Carambola (Averrhoa carambola) is a species of star-shaped fruit-producing plant originating from Indonesia, India, and Sri Lanka. Currently, star fruit trees have spread to various parts of Southeast Asia, the Dominican Republic, Brazil, Peru, Ghana, Guyana, Tonga, and Polynesia.

In Indonesia, star fruit has become an icon of Depok City, West Java, since 2007.

In the United States, commercial starfruit tree planting efforts have been carried out in South Florida and Hawaii.

Star fruit can be eaten fresh, ripe, or not fully ripe. Ripe fruit tastes sweet with a little sour, while unripe fruit has a refreshing sour taste.

It is known, besides being consumed as fresh fruits, star fruit can also be processed into drinks and dishes such as to make fruit wine, and sweets.

WARNING
People with kidney problems should avoid consuming star fruit because they contain oxalic acid. Juice made from star fruit is known to be more harmful than fresh fruit due to its higher acid concentration.

People who have high cholesterol or diabetics should also avoid this fruit, because of its high sugar content.

 

Characteristics of Starfruit Leaf

Source: inaturalist.org/ilockwood

Compound leaves, soft, green, arranged circularly around the branches alternately. The pinnate leaves have a single terminal leaflet and 5-11 leaflets nearly opposite, each leaf 10-15 cm long, and 4-9 cm wide, ovate or ovate-oblong. The upper side of the leaf is smooth and the underside is downy with a whitish color.

Starfruit leaves are reactive to light and tend to fold at night. They are also sensitive to sudden shocks and when shaken, their leaves tend to close.

 

Characteristics of Starfruit Flower

Averrhoa carambola Flower
Source: inaturalist.org/leaf0605

Starfruit flowers are purple or purple-striped, downy, produced in leaf axils and at the tips of twigs. The flowers are arranged in small clusters, bell-shaped, produced in loose panicles that are widely branched with flower stalks. Each flower is about 6 mm wide, with 5 petals that have curved ends.

 

Characteristics of Star Fruit

Source: inaturalist.org/leaf0605

Star fruit is greenish-yellow to dark yellow (depending on the type). The length varies greatly, ranging from the common species 8-12 long and those planted for commercial trade as long as 15 to 25 cm. The seeds are small and brown. The taste of star fruit is sweet and slightly sour, and crunchy when eaten. Star fruit contains a lot of vitamin C.

 

Characteristics of Starfruit Tree

Averrhoa carambola Tree
Source: inaturalist.org/portioid

The starfruit tree grows as a small tree with a height of between 4-6 meters. Mature trees are usually multi-branched and the bark is dark gray. Unlike other tropical trees, star fruit trees do not require a lot of sunlight.

Starfruit trees are often grown for their fruit, landscape additions, and shade trees. In Thailand and Vietnam, star fruit trees are widely grown as bonsai.

 
HOW TO CULTIVATE STARFRUIT TREE

Star fruit trees can be easily propagated by cuttings, grafts, and even planting from seeds. However, the common method used by individuals is cuttings, while plant traders prefer grafting because the success rate is higher.

 

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