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AVERRHOA carambola

Image of Averrhoa carambola

Scott Bauer, USDA/ARS

Family

Oxalidaceae

Botanical Name

AVERRHOA carambola

Plant Common Name

Carambola, Starfruit

General Description

Carambola, also known as starfruit, is a tropical semi-evergreen tree native to Sri Lanka, Malaysia and southeastern Asia. It is a medium sized, slow growing, ackwardly-branching tree that puts forth leaf stalks with alternating green, finely haired leaves. Its fragrant pink-violet flowers are borne in small clusters on reddish stalks in spring and summer. Orange-yellow oblong, star-shaped fruits with waxy skin develop throughout the warm months and may continue into winter. Trees typically need a cross-pollinator, although not wholly necessary.

Carambola prefers a full sun location and moist, acidic well-drained, fertile soils produce the finest trees. They are best acclimated to tropical and sub-tropical regions, so can withstand only the lightest of frosts. They are not tolerant of cold or hot, dry winds, cold soils or soggy ground. Carambola trees make a tangy addition to an orchard where the many cultivars with different colored fruits and differently flavored sweet fruits (some tasting like banana, mango, pineapple or kiwi) and some more sour. All are edible, very juicy, and nutritious eaten fresh, pickled or preserved.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    11 - 5

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    10 - 14

  • Sunset Zone

    H1, H2, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Fruit

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun

  • Height

    20'-30' / 6.1m - 9.1m

  • Width

    20'-40' / 6.1m - 12.2m

  • Bloom Time

    Early Spring, Spring, Late Spring, Early Summer, Summer, Late Summer

  • Native To

    Southeastern Asia

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Average

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Growth Rate

    Slow

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Arching/Fountain-shaped

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    Pink, Rose, Violet

  • Fruit Color

    Yellow, Orange, Light Yellow, Lemon Yellow, Yellow Green, Gold

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Green

  • Bark Color

    Brown, Sandy Brown

  • Fragrant Flowers

    Yes

  • Fragrant Fruit

    Yes

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    Yes

  • Showy Fruit

    Yes

  • Edible Fruit

    Yes

  • Showy Foliage

    No

  • Foliage Texture

    Medium

  • Foliage Sheen

    Glossy

  • Evergreen

    Semi-Evergreen

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Bark Texture

    Smooth

  • Usage

    Edible, Fruit / Fruit Tree, Tropical

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Attracts

    Birds, Butterflies

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes