Like its congener the carambola, this tree is probably a native of the Malayan region, but it is known only as a cultivated species. The fruit is too highly acid to be eaten out of hand; it may be pickled in the same manner as the cucumber, which it resembles in appearance; it may be preserved in sirup; or it may be used as a relish with meat or fish.

The tree, which grows to about 30 feet in height, may be distinguished readily from the carambola by its larger leaves, which have five to seventeen pairs of leaflets in place of two to five. The crimson flowers have ten stamens, all perfect. The fruit, known in different regions as bilambu, balimbing, blimbing, blimbee, and camias, is cylindrical or obscurely five-angled, 2 to 4 inches long, greenish yellow and translucent when ripe, with soft juicy flesh containing a few small flattened seeds.

The requirements of the tree are much the same as those of the carambola. It is usually propagated by seeds. P. J. Wester reported that attempts to bud it were not successful. No horticultural varieties are grown.