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Starfruit Tree (Averrhoa carambola)

Shimmery green to orangey yellow clumping, cascading, star shaped edged, oblong fruit dripping from a small tree. The flowers can be seen simultaneously while fruiting, are dainty pink throated magenta petals which are attached with bright red stalks.  How can these tiny- tiny flowers transform into this celebrative shape fruit?  Magic!  Just sprinkle some twinkle in your toes and come see Starfruit adorning our tree at the Botanical Gardens of the Sanibel Moorings.

Our tree is about 20 feet tall but can reach 30 feet high. It has a natural shape, slow-growing with textured, dappled gray, trunk and limbs. The spirally arranged leaves are quite lucent and appear glowing green. They do a great job of hiding the treasured fruit with their dense arrangement. You really don’t notice the fruit until you stand directly under the canopy.  We always select the ripe ones, which are glowing bright orange.  We utilize a hand held fruit picker to reach the fruit. It has a long extendable pole with a wire basket on one end. The basket is deep with a small claw around its edge to aid in trapping any fruit.  We are fortunate to have Starfruit in varying stages of maturity about 9 months out of the year. Its taste reminds me of a waxy, mildly sweet combo of apple, pineapple, and kiwi fruit. How do you eat a Starfruit?  First you wash it real good, and then you slice it horizontally starting at one end on to the other end.  Wha-laa !!!

Pros: Unique exotic fruit – Likes full sun – Attractive when fruiting or non fruiting – Insect damage minimal – Easy to maintain/prune – May get the urge to throw more parties – Drought tolerant – Earn some extra pocket money selling fruit – Compact tree for a small space – Lots and lots of fruit – Even if you don’t like the taste everyone enjoys the shape of the fruit.

Cons: Daily clean up oodles of fruit after windy day – Non Native status – Neighbors may be stealing fruit when your not looking – Low salt tolerance – Slow grower – 3-5 years to bear fruit

Starfruit is a party waiting to happen. The best place for any Starfruit is on your party platter; well it also looks good on this gorgeous tree. You got to see, this fruit tree dripping constellations of celestial orange in our paradise garden.

Don’t wanna miss this fruiter!