In The Fullerton Arboretum

by Alfredo Chiri

TROPICAL GUAVA - Psidium guajava - Myrtaceae
Donated by: CRFG/Haluza and planted in 1981 (r.f.-09)

Common names: Tropical guava,Guava, Brazilian guava, Common guava, Guayaba, Guinea guava, Guyaba, Le-mon guava, Purple guava, Apple guava, Pear guava.

The true guava, Psidium guajava, is a small tree with very attractive coppery colored bark that flakes off, showing a greenish layer underneath. Young twigs are quadrangular and downy. The tree has been cultivated by man and distributed by animals and birds so long that no place of origin is known, but it is believed to be from an area in southern Mexico and south into Central America.

The Tropical guava is a small tree, up to 10 feet high, with broadly spreading branches. The leaves are evergreen, opposite, short petioles, oval or oblong, and aromatic when crushed.

The white flowers are borne singly or in small clusters in the leaf axils, with 4 or 5 petals which promptly are shed, leaving about 300 white stamens tipped with pale yellow anthers. The white flowers are faintly fragrant.

The fruits have a strong, musky odor when ripe. They may be round, oval or pear shaped, with 4 or 5 remaining sepals of flower at the apex. Next to the skin is a layer of granular flesh that may be white, pink, yellowish or
nearly red and sub acid or sweet and flavorful. The central pulp is slightly darker in tone and normally filled with hard yellowish seeds. When the fruit is immature and a short time before ripening, it is green, hard and gummy.
Yet many prefer to eat this green guava.

In many parts of the world the guava plants run wild, and they form extensive stands called "guayabales", a Spanish name. They overrun pastures, fields and roadsides so vigorously that they have been classified as noxious weeds subject to eradication.

The guava thrives in both humid and dry climates. The plant can survive only a few degrees of frost. Young trees are damaged or killed in cold spells, but older trees that have died back to the ground have sent up new shoots, which fruited 2 years later. The guava is said to bear more heavily in areas with a distinct winter season than in the deep Tropics

The guava seems indiscriminate as to soil, doing well in heavy clay, light sand, and gravel or in limestone. It is somewhat salt resistant. Good drainage is recommended, but some guavas will grow on land too wet for most
other fruit trees.

Guava seeds remain viable for many months. Fruit from seedlings may or may not come true to the mother plant. Vegetative propagation is widely practiced.