name = "Averrhoa bilimbi"
image_width = 240px
divisio = Magnoliophyta
classis = Magnoliopsida
genus = "
species = "A. bilimbi"
binomial = "Averrhoa bilimbi"
binomial_authority = L.
"Averrhoa bilimbi", commonly known as bilimbi, bimbli, belimbing, blimbling, biling (and also bimbiri in Sinhala ), cucumber tree, tree sorrel, or "khế tàu" is a close relative of the
carambola, of genus Averrhoa, family Oxalidaceae.
Distribution and habitat
Possibly originating on the
Moluccas, Indonesia, the species is cultivated or found semi-wild throughout Indonesia, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Bangladeshand Myanmar(Burma). 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.
Asia, the tree is cultivated in Zanzibar. In 1793, the bilimbi was introduced to Jamaicafrom Timorand after several years, was cultivated throughout Central and South America. Introduced to Queenslandat the end of the 19th century, it has been grown commercially in the region since that time.
This is essentially a
tropicaltree, less resistant to cold than the carambola, growing best in rich and well-drained soil(but also stands limestoneand sand). It prefers evenly distributed rainfallthroughout 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
trunkis short and quickly divides up into ramifications. Bilimbi leaves, 30-60 cm long, are alternate, imparipinnate and cluster at branchextremities. There are around 11 to 37 alternate or suboppositeoblong leaflets. The leaves are quite similar to those of the Otaheite gooseberry.
Flower and fruit description
Its flowers, like its fruits, are found in hairy
panicles that directly emerge from the trunk as well as from the oldest, most solid branches. The yellowish or purplish flowers are tiny, fragrant and have 5 petals.
The bilimbi fruit's form ranges from ellipsoid to almost cylindrical. Its length is 4-10 cm. The bilimbi is 5-sided, but in a less marked way than the
carambola. At the stem's end, the fruit is capped with a star-shape calyx. If unripe, it is bright green and crispy. It turns yellowish as it ripens. The flesh is juicy, green and extremely acidic. The fruit's skin is glossy and very thin.
Bilimbi seeds are small (6 mm) and brown. Their form is disc-like and flattened.
There are few cultivated varieties of bilimbi. However, it has been reported to have a sweet variety in the Philippines.
Nutritional value for 100 g of edible portion
*Ash 0.31-0.40 g
Ascorbic Acid15.5 mg
In the rural parts of the Philippines, where it is commonly found as a backyard plant, it is eaten raw, dipped in rock salt, as a snack. It could either be curred or added as flavoring for the common Filipino dish "
sinigang". The uncooked bilimbi is prepared as relishand served with riceand beanin Costa Rica. In the Far East, where the tree originates, it is sometimes added to curry. Bilimbi juice (with a pHof about 4.47) is made a cooling beverage. In Indonesia, it is added in some dishes, for substituting tamarind or tomato.
Besides, the fruit can be preserved, which reduces its acidity. The flowers are also sometimes preserved in
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 mangoin making chutney. In Malaysia, it also is made into a jam, which is rather sweet. [ [http://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/morton/bilimbi.html Bilimbi ] ]
Kerala Indiait is used for making pickles.
In the Philippines, the leaves serve as a
pasteon itches, swelling, rheumatism, mumpsor skin eruptions. Elsewhere, they are used for bites of poisonous creatures. A leaf infusionis efficient against or as an after-birth tonic, while the flower infusion is used for thrush, cold, and cough. Malaysians use fermented or fresh bilimbi leaves to cure venereal diseases.
In Malaysia, very acidic bilimbis is used to clean the "
* [http://www.flickr.com/search/?ss=2&w=all&q=Averrhoabilimbi&m=tags Pictures of "Averrhoa bilimbi"]
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