Star Fruit Trees
The Star Fruit tree is a sub tropical species that is said to have fruit like and apple and grape with citrus undertones. It can be grown for the attractive foliage and arching habit as well as the flowers.
Sometimes used as a fresh fruit where the crisp ‘apple like’ texture is said to be pleasing, it is also a fruit popular in restaurants for it decorative appearance.
However Star Fruit can be poisonous and causing a range of medical problems, so do your research before eating this fruit.
Used for juice, in a chicken salad, eaten fresh or as a topping for cakes.
The botanical name is Averrhoa carambola, commonly called the Carambola, the distinctive star shaped fruit give it its other common name.
In their natural habitat Star Fruit trees will flower 4 – 5 times a year with the best fruit in summer.
Star Fruit Varieties
For the home gardener the best varieties will be the dwarf ones, they produce masses of fruit.
- Averrhoa carambola var Dwarf Fwang Tong
- Averrhoa carambola var Fwang Tang – Another commercial variety.
- Averrhoa carambola var Arkin – The best commercial variety.
- Averrhoa carambola var Bell – Smaller tree than Arkin.
- Averrhoa carambola var Sri Kembangan – Elongated fruit.
Growing conditions and care.
Being a sub tropical fruit, USDA Zones 10 -11 are the most suitable. However with the right position, and some protection over winter in can be grown down to zone 9.
A good sized mature tree can reach 15 – 25 ft in height depending on soil and climate.
Grafted trees are recommended as they will fruit earlier than seedlings and are more reliable in fruit quality.
Good moisture levels year round are essential. The better the soil, and with good drainage the faster and larger the tree will grow.
Star fruit trees will respond well to an all round, general purpose fertilizer applied in spring.
Full sun and a protected position are essential.
In cold climates tees will need to grown in containers and moved indoors if temperatures drop below 30 F. You could also fleece them
The fruit is harvested when it turns from green to yellow. It is best to do a little taste test before picking all of the fruit to get an understanding of the ripeness.
Pruning Star Fruit
Carambola trees grow all year round in tropical to sub tropical climates and therefore will require pruning to keep them to a manageable size.
Pruning should be carried out to allow good air flow and good light. This improves tree health and fruit quality.
You can prune Carambola trees fairly hard in warmer climates, they respond well and pruning will often trigger new growth and flowering.
Trees will need to be protected from birds, even in home gardens we suggest bird netting.
- Botanical Name Averrhoa carambola
- Common Names – Star Fruit, Carambola
- Family – Oxalidacae
- Origins – Widely grown in South East Asia, however most likely introduced from South or Central America
- Type – Fruit Tree
- Climate Zone – USDA Zone 10-11
- Position – Full sun to a little shade
- Soil – Humus rich well drained
- Height – To around 30 ft (10m)
- Spread – To a width of around 10 ft (3m) plus
- Foliage – Deep green and evergreen
- Flowers – Lilac to purple.
Star Fruit is said to be poisonous especially to people with kidney diseases. It is also said to have a number of adverse other effects including adverse effects on digestion and neurological disorders. It is a fruit that is very high oxalic acid.