Throughout the world, fruit trees bloom in the summer months. Each has its own history and profile. Although people cultivate these trees primarily for their fruits, their value is not limited to food. In some cases, their flowers are exotic, beautiful and fragrant in their own right. These flowers are also sources of herbal benefits for different medical conditions, enhancing their value.
Silver banksia (Banksia marginata) is one of 76 species of Banksia trees that are endemic to Australia. It is the only Banksia species that grows naturally in Canberra. The Silver banksia tree has yellow flowers that bloom between late summer and winter. Banksia tree fruits appear in groups that look like cones. Some features are common throughout the species, such as dark green leaves with a silvery underside, and a preference for well-drained soil and full sun to partial shade. Banksias take their name from the eminent British botanist, Sir Joseph Banks (1743 to 1820), who was the first European to collect specimens in 1770. Silver banksia is a popular source of winter food for the Red wattlebird, among other birds that winter in Canberra.
The star fruit, or carambola tree (Averrhoa carambola), originated in Asia and may be endemic to Sri Lanka/Ceylon. It is slow-growing and does not usually reach much above 25 to 30 feet in height. This tropical tree bears five-lobed, yellowish-orange fruit that, when sliced in cross section, form shapes like stars, so they make attractive additions to fruit salad. In Asia, the star fruit is popular in puddings, tarts, stews, curries and with seafood. The flowers of the star fruit tree are pink with dark-red centers. This tree thrives in full sun and rich, well-drained soil, with regular watering. The star fruit tree is a member of the Oxalidaceae, or wood sorrel family.
In midsummer, the lime tree, or Linden tree (Tilia Europoea), exhibits clusters of delicate and highly fragrant, creamy white flowers on slim stalks. The dried flowers are ingredients in an herbal tea that is popular in continental Europe, particularly in France, where its name is "tilleul." Medicines and liqueurs include honey from the lime blossoms. The tree itself can reach heights of between 90 and 130 feet, with dark green, heart-shaped leaves. The lime tree grows in the British Isles, where it may be endemic, as well as in western Europe.