Becoming increasingly popular in Western markets, the star fruit is a pleasure both to the taste, and to the eye. Its mild, sweet, sub-acid flavor complements many commercial juice drinks, and the fruit is also often eaten out hand. When cut, slices of the fruit have a star shape, and often adorn salads and other dishes.
A small and slow-growing tree to 20-30ft, the star fruit is best adapted in the warm tropics from sea level to 2000ft, but can be grown in unusual conditions in the subtropics, provided the plant is protected from extreme cold.
Older trees are more tolerant of frost. Growth stops below 55-60F, and adult trees can be killed at prolonged temperatures below 28F. Sunset Zones: 23-24, H1, H2 USDA: 10a-11
Both hot, dry and cold winds can severely damage trees and fruit, so adequate windbreaks are suggested for ideal culture. Give the plant full sun, fertilize 4-5 times a year, and provide moderate water throughout the year. Heavy water during flowering may inhibit pollination and fruit production. Star fruit's are susceptible to root rot under wet conditions, but they generally do well with moderate, year-round rainfall.
Seedling trees usually fruit within 4-6 years, while grafted trees can fruit in under a year.
Fruits are generally eaten fresh, but occasionally used in desserts and juices as well.
Origin unknown, but probably native to Malaysia, Indonesia and Southern China. The star fruit has never been located in the wild. It was domesticated throughout India and southeast Asia in prehistoric times, and was established in the American tropics 150 years ago. Commercial production of Star Fruit now occurs in Hawaii, and throughout tropical regions of the world.