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The carambola is believed to have originated in Ceylon and the Moluccas but it has been cultivated in southeast Asia and Malaysia for many centuries. 2
The generic name is after Averrhoes (1126-98), the widely known Arab Philosopher. The specific name, ‘carambola’, is said to have come from Malabar and was adopted early by the Portuguese. 10

The carambola tree is classified as an evergreen and is in the Oxalidaceae family. It is a plant that is indigenous to India and Southeast Asia and was first introduced into Florida over a century ago. The tree is small to medium in height (22 to 33 feet), has a spreading canopy, and is either single or multi-trunked. The majority of the fruit production occurs in the middle of the canopy. Compound leaves are alternate, with five to twelve leaflets per leaf. The fruit are star-shaped in cross section with generally five longitudinal ribs. Edible seeds encased in a gelatinous case are produced in the ribs. The star fruit berry may range from two to six inches in length, and does not produce sugar after picking. Consequently, sweetest fruit are tree-ripened. The crop is considered mature when the color begins to “break” from green to gold between the ribs. 3