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Averrhoa bilimbi L.

Family Name: Oxalidaceae
Common Name: Bilimbi, Belimbing Buloh, Cucumber Tree, Belimbing, 木胡瓜
Full Sun: 6-8h Moderate Water Bird-Attracting Caterpillar Food Plant Fruit & Vegetable Herb & Spice Ornamental Flowers Tree


Family Name
Genus Epithet
Species Epithet
Name Authority
Common Names

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Division Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants) (Dicotyledon)
Plant Growth Form Tree (Small (6m-15m))
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic


Native Distribution Moluccas, Indonesia, Malaysia
Native Habitat Terrestrial
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form Small tree, able to grow up to about 5 - 10 m tall.
Trunk Short trunk which branches out into a number of upright branches.
Foliage Green leaves, alternate arrangement and usually clustered at the branch tips, measuring about 30 - 60 cm long, each leaf has about 11 - 37 ovate to oblong leaflets measuring about 2 - 10 cm long and 1.2 cm wide.
Flowers Small purplish-red flowers borne in a pendulous panicle inflorescence, 5-petaled and fragrant, each inflorescence has about 60 flowers.
Fruits Fruit is ellipsoid to obovoid in shape, turns from light green to yellowish-green when ripen, measuring about 4 - 10 cm long. 
Others - Plant Morphology Averhhoa bilimbi is closely allied to the Averhhoa carambola (Starfruit), they share some of the same names despite being very different fruits.
Etymology Genus Averrhoa is named after Averrhoes (1126 - 1198), a well-known Arabian philosopher and physician and also a translator of Aristotle's work. Species bilimbi means cucumber tree.
Ethnobotanical Uses Food (Herb and Spice;Fruit & Vegetable : The fruit is too acid for eating raw but the green uncooked fruits are prepared as relish in Suriname.)

Landscaping Features

Desirable Plant Features Ornamental Flowers
Plant & Rootzone Preference - Tolerance Moist Soils, Well-Drained Soils, Fertile Loamy Soils
Landscape Uses General, Parks & Gardens, Small Gardens

Fauna, Pollination and Dispersal

Fauna Pollination Dispersal Associated Fauna Caterpillar Food Plant, Bird Attracting

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Full Sun
Water Preference Moderate Water
Propagation Method Seed


Foliage Retention Evergreen
Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Foliar Arrangement Along Stem Alternate
Leaf Area Index (LAI) for Green Plot Ratio 3.0 (Tree - Intermediate Canopy)

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower Colour(s) Red
Flower Grouping Cluster / Inflorescence
Flower Location Axillary, Cauliflorous
Inflorescence Type Panicle

Fruit, Seed & Spore

Mature Fruit Colour(s) - Angiosperms and Gymnosperms Green
Mature Seed Colour(s) Brown
Mature Seed Texture(s) Smooth
Seed Description Small and flattened

Image Repository



Master ID 1442
Species ID 2735
Species record last updated on: 06 December 2019.

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