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Edible Porion: Fruit, Flowers, Leaves, Spice

A small evergreen tree up to 6-12 m high. The trunk of the tree is short and crooked and has branches near the base. The bark is smooth and dark grey. A leaf is made up of 2 to 11 leaflets with a leaflet at the end. The leaves are darker and more shiny on the top surface. The flowers are small (8 mm long) and red and white in clusters on the small branches. The fruit are star shaped with five or six angled ridges. They are yellow and up to 16 cm long and 9 cm wide. The flesh is white. There are one or two shiny light brown seeds about 1 cm long, in the bottom of each lobe. Some carambola have short styles (female flower parts) and these types need to be cross pollinated by insects. This means two types need planting. Long style types can fertilise themselves. Fruit flavour can vary from very acid to very sweet. There are several named cultivated varieties.