Bilimbi Fruits Facts: Nutritional Value, Names, Habitats

Averrhoa bilimbi is a species of fruit-bearing tree that belongs to the genus Averrhoa and family Oxalidaceae. It is often known as the bilimbi tree, cucumber tree, or tree sorrel. It is related to the carambola in a very intimate way.

Different names used in various countries

In several languages, the tree and its fruit are referred to by a variety of distinct names. They are not to be mistaken with the carambola, which also carries several of the same names despite the fact that the two fruits couldn’t be more different from one another. In Indonesia, for instance, the fruit known as bilimbi is referred to as balimbing, but in the Philippines the fruit known as balimbing is really carambola (which they call iba in Cebuano and kamias in Tagalog).

Both in terms of distribution and habitat

The plant is either grown or found semi-wild across the countries of Indonesia, The Philippines, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Myanmar (Burma), and Malaysia. Its possible place of origin is the Indonesian archipelago of the Moluccas. It is widespread in the nations that are located in Southeast Asia. The bilimbi plant, which is native to India and may often be seen growing in gardens, has been naturalized in the hottest parts of the nation.
Zanzibar is the only place outside of Asia where the tree is grown. The bilimbi, which originally came from Timor, was brought to Jamaica in 1793. After a few years, it began to be grown across Central and South America, where it is known as mimbro. At the tail end of the 19th century, it was brought to Queensland, and ever since then, it has been cultivated for commercial purposes in the state.
This is primarily a tropical tree, with a lower tolerance for cold than the carambola, and it does best when grown in soil that is both rich and well-drained (but also stands limestone and sand). It enjoys rainfall that is equally distributed throughout the year, although there should be a dry season that lasts for two to three months. Because of this, the species is not located, for instance, in the portion of Malaysia that receives the most rainfall. The tree requires shelter from the wind and the cold in Florida, where it is just a rare oddity.

Tree description

The bilimbi tree has a long lifespan and may grow to be between 5 and 10 meters tall. It has a rather small stem that branches out into ramifications quite rapidly. Bilimbi leaves are alternating, imparipinnate, and cluster at the terminals of the branches. Their length ranges from 3 to 6 centimeters. There are anywhere from 11 to 37 oblong leaflets that are alternating or subopposite to one another. The leaves resemble those of the Otaheite gooseberry in a lot of ways.

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

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