- Averrhoa bilimbi
Averrhoa bilimbi Scientific classification Kingdom: Plantae (unranked): Angiosperms (unranked): Eudicots (unranked): Rosids Order: Oxalidales Family: Oxalidaceae Genus: Averrhoa Species: A. bilimbi Binomial name Averrhoa bilimbi
The tree and fruit are known by different names in different languages. They should not be confused with the carambola, which also share some of the same names despite being very different fruits. For example, bilimbi are called balimbing in Indonesia, but balimbing in the Philippines actually refer to carambola and not bilimbi (which they call iba in Cebuano and kamias in Tagalog).
Country Name English cucumber tree or tree sorrel India bilimbi Sri Lanka bimbiri Dominican Republic Vinagrillo Philippines kamias,kalamias, or iba Malaysia belimbing asam, belimbing buloh, b'ling, or billing-billing Indonesia belimbing besu, balimbing, blimbing, or blimbing wuluh Thailand taling pling, or kaling pring Vietnam khế tàu Haiti blimblin Jamaica bimbling plum Cuba grosella china El Salvador & Nicaragua mimbro Costa Rica mimbro or tirigur Venezuela vinagrillo Surinam and Guyana birambi Argentina pepino de Indias Kerala Bilimbi or Irumban Puli or Chemmeen Puli France carambolier bilimbi or cornichon des Indes
Distribution and habitat
Possibly originating on the Moluccas, Indonesia, the species is cultivated or found semi-wild throughout Indonesia, The Philippines, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Myanmar (Burma) and Malaysia. It is common in other Southeast Asian countries. In India, where it is usually found in gardens, the bilimbi has gone wild in the warmest regions of the country.
Outside of Asia, the tree is cultivated in Zanzibar. In 1793, the bilimbi was introduced to Jamaica from Timor and after several years, was cultivated throughout Central and South America where it is known as mimbro. Introduced to Queensland at the end of the 19th century, it has been grown commercially in the region since that time.
This is essentially a tropical tree, less resistant to cold than the carambola, growing best in rich and well-drained soil (but also stands limestone and sand). It prefers evenly distributed rainfall throughout the year, but with a 2- to 3-month dry season. Therefore the species is not found, for example, in the wettest part of Malaysia. In Florida, where it is an occasional curiosity, the tree needs protection from wind and cold.
The bilimbi tree is long-lived and reaches 5-10 m in height. Its trunk is short & quickly divides up into ramifications. Bilimbi leaves, 3-6 cm long, are alternate, imparipinnate and cluster at branch extremities. There are around 11 to 37 alternate or subopposite oblong leaflets. The leaves are quite similar to those of the Otaheite gooseberry.
There are few cultivated varieties of bilimbi. However, there is a sweet variety in the Philippines - where the sour bilimbis are called "kamias", while the sweet variety is called "balimbing".
Nutritional value for 100 g of edible portion
- Moisture 94.2-94.7 g
- Protein 0.61 g
- Ash 0.31-0.40 g
- Fiber 0.6g
- Phosphorus 11.1 mg
- Calcium 3.4 mg
- Iron 1.01 mg
- Thiamine 0.010 mg
- Riboflavin 0.026 mg
- Carotene 0.035 mg
- Ascorbic Acid 15.5 mg
- Niacin 0.302 mg
In the rural parts of the Philippines, where it is commonly found as a backyard plant, it is eaten either raw or dipped in rock salt (or other savoury powders - masala), as a snack. It could either be curried or added as flavoring for the common Filipino dish sinigang. The uncooked bilimbi is prepared as relish and served with rice and beans in Costa Rica. In the Far East, where the tree originated, it is sometimes added to curry. Bilimbi juice (with a pH of about 4.47) is made into a cooling beverage. In Indonesia, it is added to some dishes, substituting for tamarind or tomato.
In another part of Indonesia, Aceh, it is preserved by sun-drying, the sun-dried bilimbi is called asam sunti. Bilimbi and asam sunti are popular in Acehnese culinary. It can replace mango in making chutney. In Malaysia, it also is made into a rather sweet jam.
In the Philippines, the leaves serve as a paste on itches, swelling, rheumatism, mumps or skin eruptions. Elsewhere, they are used for bites of poisonous creatures. A leaf infusion is used as an after-birth tonic, while the flower infusion is used for thrush, cold, and cough. Malaysians use fermented or fresh bilimbi leaves to treat venereal diseases. In French Guiana, syrup made from the fruit is used to treat inflammatory conditions. To date there is no scientific evidence to confirm effectiveness for such uses.
In some villages in the Thiruvananthapuram district of India, the fruit of the bilimbi was used in folk medicine to control obesity. This led to further studies on its antihyperlipidemic properties.
- Averrhoa carambola, a closely related tree
- ^ Bilimbi
- ^ Achard bilimbi (Bilimbi pickle)
- ^ Pushparaj, Peter Natesan (2004). [https://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/bitstream/handle/10635/14689/Thesis%20of%20Peter%20HD97-1093R.pdf?sequence=1 Evaluation Of The Anti-Diabetic Properties Of Averrhoa bilimbi in Animals with Experimental Diabetes Mellitus]. National University of Singapore. https://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/bitstream/handle/10635/14689/Thesis%20of%20Peter%20HD97-1093R.pdf?sequence=1. Retrieved December 2010.
- ^ Ambili, Savithri; Appian, Subramoniam; Nagarajan, Natesan Shanmugam (2009). Studies on the Antihyperlipidemic Properties of Averrhoa bilimbi Fruit in Rats. Planta Med. doi:10.1055/s-0028-1088361. http://www.thieme-connect.com/ejournals/abstract/plantamedica/doi/10.1055/s-0028-1088361.
- ^ "Averrhoa bilimbi". United World College of South East Asia. http://www.uwcsea.edu.sg/page.cfm?p=1593. Retrieved 16 December 2010.
- ^ "Growing Kamias and Its Many Uses". EntrePinoys Atbp.. http://www.mixph.com/2009/07/growing-kamias-and-its-many-uses.html. Retrieved 16 December 2010.
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