Averrhoa bilimbi L.

Etymology Genus After Averrhoes, an Arabian physician and translator of Aristotle's work
Species Latinised Indian common name for the tree
Family Oxalidaceae
Synonyms Averrhoa abtusangulata Stokes, Averrhoa obtusangula Stokes
Common Names Belimbing, Bilimbi, Cucumber Tree
Status Exotic: Casual
Form Tree
Native Distribution Moluccas (Indonesia)


Averrhoea bilimbi is a small tree commonly cultivated for its fruits. It is very easy to identify from its clustering compound leaves and its often drooping leaflets. The leaflets are covered with fine hairs making them very smooth and pleasant to touch. A close relative to the Star Fruit (Averrhoa carambola), their flowers are also borne on the stem and branches.

Interesting Facts:

The fruit is very sour due to its high oxalic acid (Ken & Robert, 2011). They are used to make chutneys and prickled relishes (Ng, 2010).

The form of Bilimbi. Note the drooping leaflets.

The imparipinnate compound leaf.

Leaflet top and bottom view.

The ends of the petioles are swollen.

The inflorescences are borne on the stem and branches.

The tiny cucumber-like fruits.


Ken L & Robert EP. (2011) Bilimbi. University of Hawaii, Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources. 6 pp.
Ng FSP. (2010) Tropical Horticulture & Gardening. MPH Group Publishing, Malaysia. 361 pp.

Author: Jake
Posted: 2013-05-02 / Modified: 2019-08-27