Sunday, August 17, 2014

BILIMBI (Vilimbi)

Common names:        Bilimbi,

Cucumber tree.

Botanic name:  Averrhoa bilimbi L.

Family :              OXALIDACEAE

Hindi                            Bilimbi

Tamil                           Pulima, Pilimpi

Kannada                      Belambu

Telugu                         Gommereku

Other Local names:

Irumban puli


 An attractive, small tree about 3 to 5 m tall.


Leaves are compound, arranged alternately, have single terminal leaflet.
Leaves are about 30 to 60 cm long and are clustered mainly at the branch tips. Each leaf has 11 to 37 leaflets, which are arranged alternately or slightly opposite. They are oblong in shape with rounded base and pointed tip .


Flowers are tiny with five red to dark red petals. Flowers emerge directly from the stem and on oldest branches.


The Bilimbi fruit is 5 to 10 cm long, cylindrical and five-sided with hair-like floral remnants at the lowest end. It is bright green when unripe and turns ivory or white when ripe; skin is very thin, soft and tender. Fruit is juicy and highly acidic.


 Bilimbi is too acidic to be eaten raw but is used to make curry, chutney and salad. It is also cooked with chilli, which can be kept for a long time. To reduce acidity bilimbi is prickled and soaked in water overnight or boiled with salt for a few minutes. Fruit is also used to clean metals and remove stain.

Medicinal properties:

It is reported that in Malasia the leaves of the Bilimbi is used in the treatment of veneral diseases.
Leaf decotion is used to  relive rectal inflammation.
The fruit has also been used for a variety of maladies: Rheumatism,pimples, cough and prevention of scurvy.

Propagation :

 It requires full sun for fast growth and prefers seasonally humid climates. Bilimbi is grown mainly from seeds.Before sowing seeds should be washed thoroughly. Stem cuttings are also used for propagation.

 Foot note:
The fruit contains high levels of oxalate. It is reported that people who drank the concentrated juice on continuous days may cause acute renal failure due to tubular necrosis caused by oxalate.

No comments: