How the Starfruit spreads
Starfruit (Averrhoa carambola L.) is a tree native to Sri Lanka, India and the Moluccas and is widespread throughout Southeast Asia.
This plant is also widely cultivated in Brazil, Colombia, Ghana, Guyana, French Polynesia and recently also in Guam and Hawaii.
It produces a characteristic yellow fruit, the carambola, good as a candied fruit and for garnishing cakes, easily recognizable by its five-pointed star section.
There are two varieties of carambola: sour and sweet fruit; the latter is exported to Italy, especially during the Christmas period. Thanks to its original shape, it is used as a garnish in pastry and in the preparation of drinks with an exotic taste. The liqueurs that are distilled from carom juice are delicious, while the pulp can also be transformed into candied fruit.
This fruit contains phenols and flavonoids such as gallic acid, catechin, epicatechin and proanthocyanins and has found use in traditional medicine for the treatment of some pathological states, such as headache, nausea, cough, insomnia, hypertension and diabetes.
The Starfruit reproduces by seed, by cutting and by grafting.
In the technique of seed multiplication of the starfruit this is carried out in pots, or in seedlings, when the minimum temperature is 22 ° C, preferably in the late spring – summer period. The seeds extracted from the fresh pulp of the carambola must be sown at the moment as they lose their germination capacity in a short time. The seeds extracted from the pulp of purchased carambola can also be sown.
Before sowing a growing medium must be prepared which must be rich, fresh and well drained.
Carom seeds must be buried at a depth of 2 cm and the soil must always be kept moist for all the time necessary for germination.
For the transplanting of the young seedlings, it is necessary to wait about a year.
After this period, the carom seedlings, which have reached a height of about 30 centimeters, should be transferred to a larger pot or to the sunniest area of the garden, sheltered from the wind.
At the time of transplanting, great care must be taken not to damage the fragile roots of the seedling.
It should be remembered that the Starfruit is a very delicate plant, typical of tropical climates, but in Italy, it can produce in Sicily, in the coastal areas, even in open fields if well sheltered.
One final note; according to the local populations of French Guiana, it seems that the excessive intake of this fruit can create kidney problems.