Sunday, September 12, 2010
Starfruit (Averrhoa carambola)
The flowers appear starting in mid-summer and continue through early winter. Buds and blooms emerge from the leaf axils of new growth,
The common name of Starfruit refers to the shape of the fruit, especially when cut into thin slices.
The flavor of fruit from different varieties varies between sweet and tart. Named varieties also vary in size and color intensity. Some cultivars require cross-pollination for improved fruit set.
Carambola averrhoa grows 25-35 foot tall in sun or light shade. Mature trees can survive a hard freeze for short periods of time and the trees are evergreen if no freezes occur. The large pinnate leaves give the tree a ferny appearance.
The Carambola fruits contain oxalic acid, and the juice of the tart varieties can be used to polish metals, especially brass. There are folk remedies from around the world utilizing various parts to the tree to treat many afflictions, including headache, vomiting, eczema, fevers, and hangover! Medical studies indicate patients with chronic renal failure (on dialysis) should avoid eating starfruit due to documented adverse reactions.