or Star Fruit
Carambola or Star Fruit is an unique and flavorful
fruit. The fruit's flavor ranges from very sour to
mildly sweetish and tastes something like a mix of
apple, pineapple, and kiwi fruit. Slices cut in
cross-section have the form of a star.
carambola tree is medium fast growing, has a short-trunk,
multi-branched, bushy, broad, with a rounded crown and reaches
20 to 30' in height and about the same in width. Pruning
will keep the tree from getting too large while still
allowing it to bear fruit prolifically. A good tropical
fruit tree for limited space.
Underside of Carambola Tree
of Star Fruit
Ripe Star Fruit
Ceylon and the Moluccas
8 (in sheltered areas) - 11
Rate of Growth: Slow
Salt Tolerance: Low
particular as to soil, but will grow faster and bear
more heavily in rich loam. Needs good drainage; cannot
Water Requirements: Medium
Nutritional Requirements: Balanced
liquid fertilizer monthly, side dressings of composted manure
Light Requirements: Full
Short-trunk with a much-branched, bushy, broad,
Deciduous leaves, spirally arranged,
are alternate, imparipinnate, 6 to 10" long, with 5
to 11 nearly opposite leaflets, ovate or ovate-oblong, 1
1/2 to 3 1/2" long; soft, medium-green, and smooth
on the upper surface, finely hairy and whitish on the
underside. The leaflets are sensitive to light and more
or less inclined to fold together at night or when the
tree is shaken or abruptly shocked.
clusters of red-stalked, lilac, purple-streaked, downy
flowers, about 1/4" wide, are borne on the twigs in
the axils of the leaves.
Showy, oblong, longitudinally 5- to 6-angled
fruits, 2 1/2 to 6" long and up to 3 1/2"
wide, have thin, waxy, orange-yellow skin and juicy,
crisp, yellow flesh when fully ripe. Slices cut in
cross-section have the form of a star. Flavor ranges
from very sour to mildly sweetish. May be up to 12 flat,
thin, brown seeds 1/4 to 1/2" long, or none at all.
Pests or diseases:
black beetles, stinkbugs, nematodes, anthracnose, leaf
spot, and sooty mold.
the fruits have been used as "conversation
Cost: $$ --
Cuttings, air-layering, or seeds
J. 1987. Carambola. p. 125–128. In:
Fruits of Warm Climates. Julia F. Morton, Miami, FL.;
Carambola Growing in the Florida Home Landscape,
HS12, Horticultural Sciences Department,
Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food
and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida.
Original publication date April 1994. Revised May 2007,
Jonathan H. Crane