B-17 Carambola

mango_kushApril 15, 2010

i really want to obtain this cultivar, is Carambola hard to graft? i would guess they are not. they are pretty damn hardy and seem to flower as a direct result of abuse.

i have one that i pretty much tortured. let it grow in the ground for a year until it got 6 foot before deciding it was in mango territory. i dug it up and put it in a container where it lost all its leaves and survived the winter. its now budding like crazy in a neighbors yard.

its a Zill high performance, flowered but no fruit. not sure the cultivar, if its Arkin it may just get topped if i can get a different graft going.

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hmhausman(FL 10B)

Carambolas are very easy to graft, but I don't have B-17. I've tasted it.....it is a sweet variety, but I never bought it because I found Sri Kembangan, Kari, Thai Night, Possum Trot and Bell better.


    Bookmark   April 15, 2010 at 6:57AM
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ohiojay(z6 OH)

You can get scions from the Hilo station germplasm center for free. Is starfruit easy to graft? Yes...and no. I'm going to say that a big part of success lies in the timing of when you graft.

Jerry, from Virginia, who we haven't heard from in a while, and I repeatedly tried grafting the B17 to our plants with zero success. On the flip side, I did successfully wedge graft a scion sent from Thailand during a spring and successfully bud grafted a Bell during summer...all other grafts during this period were wedge type grafts and all failed.

I'm no expert grafter by any stretch of the imagination, but I've done a lot and have had many successes. But the darn B17 just did not want to graft...and I tried every possible approach with them.

But after tasting my Bell fruit...I'm quite satisfied with the turn out.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2010 at 7:45AM
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Harry, you tasted B17 and think it is less sweet than Kary or Sri?

B17 is supposed to have the highest Brix level of all Carambola, its also called "crystal honey"

according to this source which tested its Brix level:
The best cultivars introduced from Malaysia are:
(a) B2 (long style), elongated, narrow fruit, ripening yellowish-white. Its flesh is fine textured
and sweet with a brix of 8-9%.
(b) B 17 (short style) or Crystal honey carambola is crispy, juicy, extremely sweet with a brix of
15-18%. The fruit is usually elongated with whitish sugar spots and ripens to a golden
yellow colour.
(c) B 17 has good potential in Asian and Middle East countries because of its sweetness but B
10 is the most widely accepted cultivar world wide. B 10 has broad, large, 12-14 cm, fruit
which ripens yellow to yellow orange with smooth fine textured, juicy, sweet (brix 10-12% )
Some attributes of a good cultivar are:
(a) sweet and less tart with brix of >11% and low oxalic acid content,
(b) good colour yellow to golden yellow,
(c) Crisp, juicy, fine-textured not fibrous,
(d) strong, broad ribs to withstand bruising,
(e) good post harvest shelf life,
(f) good yielder >40-60 mt/ha/year and
(g) can withstand cold temperatures.

heres a taste comparison conducted by Dr. Jonathan Crane in 1998:

(amazing how 45% of tasters found Arkin insipid yet ten years later its still a major cultivar)

other sites list Kary, Sri and Fwang tung the best cultivars with excellent flavor and b 17 as just "good"

    Bookmark   April 15, 2010 at 11:54AM
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hmhausman(FL 10B)


Well, this does go back about 15 years, so my memory might be faulty. Perhaps what I tasted was mislabeled or was not a representative fruit.....but yes, in my memory, I agree with the last sentence of your post. But, if you find some B-17s floating around, I would certainly give them another try.


    Bookmark   April 15, 2010 at 12:45PM
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another thing is the Germplasm in Hilo has two specimens labled B 17. i may write them asking why along with the three "no mai tsze" lychee trees.

have you ever tasted Golden Star? or a sour carambola? i really like sour fruit and one that sweetens when ripe sounds appealing.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2010 at 2:33PM
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ohiojay(z6 OH)

Being very sweet doesn't necessarily mean very good. Might be worth trying your skill at grafting it though. Maybe someone will succeed!

    Bookmark   April 15, 2010 at 2:34PM
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hmhausman(FL 10B)

No, I have never tasted or even heard of Golden Star. And no, no sour carambolas for me....I have had some, but don't care for them.


    Bookmark   April 15, 2010 at 2:43PM
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supposedly under ripe carambolas have high levels of oxalic acid(?) and should be avoided. I wonder if a 'sour' type carambola might be bad for you?


    Bookmark   April 15, 2010 at 3:54PM
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hmhausman(FL 10B)

That's what I heard, Ethan.....too much oxalic acid can cause kidney stones I believe. Very painful.


    Bookmark   April 15, 2010 at 6:06PM
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