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Cucumber Tree

Averrhoa bilimbi

Description:

Oxalidaceae; Averrhoa; Averrhoa bilimbi Linnaeus. "Averrhoa bilimbi is a small tropical tree native to Malaysia and Indonesia, reaching up to 15m in height. It is often multitrunked, quickly dividing into ramifications." Wikipedia. I can only add that this tree is also very common here in Philippines (probably introduced many decades ago as the local people talk of their grandparents introducing them to the fruits when they were children). Wikipedia also states "It is a close relative of the carambola tree." There is a Carambola tree in our front garden which has fruits which look nothing like those of the A. bilimbi, but I have often mentioned, in conversation, that the fruits of both trees taste the same. I never gave any thought to the possibility, until now, of these two trees being closely related.

Habitat:

This tree has been growing for many years in the front yard of the rice mill, a short distance from our house. It bears a an abundant amount of fruits every year.

Notes:

The fruits of A. bilimbi are dense and heavy and I used to think there must be some danger of the branches breaking under the weight. However, evolution must have thought of that 50 or 60 million years before I did. This tree has evolved to avoid overloading its branches by growing a great portion of its crop directly from the trunk. Physics does the rest.

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2 Comments

John B.
John B. 2 months ago

Hi SukanyaDatta, nice to hear from you again. As I think I mentioned in my Spotting, I was aware of both trees, and the fact that they both produced fruits which tasted similar. Even then, I didn't manage to connect them botanically. It was only because of Wikipedia's article that I realized I had missed the connection. I did not admit in my spotting that I don't really like sour fruits. I only ever eat them when someone is kind enough to offer me one. Then I have to eat just to be polite, but I know you will keep my little secret! Best regards. Happy Spotting. John B.

SukanyaDatta
SukanyaDatta 2 months ago

This is so interesting. I know the carambola tree well...once I sneaked in the fruit to eat in class and almost got caught...but never seen this relative. Carambola is common enough in India but I do not recall even hearing about this one. Thank you for sharing.

John B.
Spotted by
John B.

Palauig, Central Luzon, Philippines

Spotted on Jun 15, 2021
Submitted on Jun 8, 2022

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