Guavas (singular guava /ˈɡwɑːvə/) are common tropical fruits
cultivated and enjoyed in many tropical and subtropical regions.
Psidium guajava (common guava, lemon guava) is a small tree in the
Myrtle family (Myrtaceae), native to Mexico, Central America, and
northern South America. Although related species may also be called
guavas, they belong to other species or genera, such as the "pineapple
guava" Acca sellowiana. In 2011,
India was the largest producer of
2 Etymology and regional names
3 Origin and distribution
Guava seed oil
9 Folk medicine
11 External links
Apple guava (Psidium guajava) flower
The most frequently eaten species, and the one often simply referred
to as "the guava", is the apple guava (Psidium guajava).[citation
needed] Guavas are typical Myrtoideae, with tough dark leaves that are
opposite, simple, elliptic to ovate and 5–15 centimetres
(2.0–5.9 in) long. The flowers are white, with five petals and
numerous stamens. The fruits are many-seeded berries.
Accara and Acca (formerly Feijoa, pineapple guava) were
formerly included in Psidium.
Etymology and regional names
Yellow-fruited cherry guava, (sometimes called lemon guava) Psidium
littorale var. littorale
Psidium littorale var. cattleianum
The term "guava" appears to derive from Arawak guayabo "guava tree",
via the Spanish guayaba. It has been adapted in many European and
Asian languages, having a similar form.
Another term for guavas is peru, derived from pear. It is common in
countries bordering the western
Indian Ocean and probably derives from
Spanish or Portuguese. In parts of the
Indian subcontinent and
Middle-East, guava is called amrood, possibly a variant of armoot
meaning "pear" in the Arabic and Turkish languages. It is known as the
payara in Bangladesh. It is known as bayabas in the Philippines.
Origin and distribution
Guavas originated from an area thought to extend from
Central America and were distributed throughout tropical America and
Caribbean region. They were adopted as a crop in subtropical and
tropical Asia, the southern
United States (from Tennessee and North
Carolina south, as well as the west and Hawaii), tropical Africa,
South Asia, Southeast Asia, and Oceania. Guavas are now cultivated
in many tropical and subtropical countries. Several species are
grown commercially; apple guava and its cultivars are those most
commonly traded internationally. Guavas also grow in southwestern
Europe, specifically the
Costa del Sol
Costa del Sol on Málaga, (Spain) and Greece
where guavas have been commercially grown since the middle of the 20th
century and they proliferate as cultivars.
Mature trees of most species are fairly cold-hardy and can survive
temperatures slightly colder than 25 °F (−4 °C) for
short periods of time, but younger plants will likely freeze to the
Guavas were introduced to
Florida in the 19th century and are now
Florida as far north as Sarasota, Chipley, Waldo and Fort
Pierce. However, they are a primary host of the Caribbean fruit fly
and must be protected against infestation in areas of
this pest is present.
Guavas are of interest to home growers in subtropical areas as one of
the few tropical fruits that can grow to fruiting size in pots
indoors. When grown from seed, guavas bear fruit as soon as two years
and as long as 40 years.
Guava plant leaf
Psidium species are used as food plants by the caterpillars of some
Lepidoptera, mainly moths like the Ello Sphinx (Erinnyis ello),
Eupseudosoma aberrans, E. involutum, and Hypercompe icasia. Mites,
Pronematus pruni and Tydeus munsteri, are known to be crop pests
of the apple guava (P. guajava) and perhaps other species. The
Erwinia psidii causes rot diseases of the apple guava.
Although the fruit is cultivated and favored by humans, many animals
and birds consume it, readily dispersing the seeds in their droppings
and, in Hawaii, strawberry guava (P. littorale) has become an
aggressive invasive species threatening extinction to more than 100
other plant species. By contrast, several guava species have
become rare due to habitat destruction and at least one (Jamaican
guava, P. dumetorum), is already extinct.
Guava wood is used for meat smoking in
Hawaii and is used at barbecue
competitions across the United States. In
Cuba and Mexico, the leaves
are used in barbecues.
Guava fruits, usually 4 to 12 centimetres (1.6 to 4.7 in) long,
are round or oval depending on the species. They have a pronounced
and typical fragrance, similar to lemon rind but less sharp. The outer
skin may be rough, often with a bitter taste, or soft and sweet.
Varying between species, the skin can be any thickness, is usually
green before maturity, but becomes yellow, maroon, or green when ripe.
The pulp inside may be sweet or sour and off-white ("white" guavas) to
deep pink ("red" guavas). The seeds in the central pulp vary in number
and hardness, depending on species.
Guava production – 2011
millions of tonnes
Official world production data for guava are not available. In 2011,
one source reported that
India was the world production leader with
17.6 million tonnes, an amount not exceeded by the accumulative total
of the next seven largest guava producers (table).
'Thai maroon' guava, a red apple guava cultivar
In Mexico, the guava agua fresca beverage is popular. The entire fruit
is a key ingredient in punch, and the juice is often used in culinary
sauces (hot or cold), as well as artisan candies, dried snacks, fruit
bars, desserts, or dipped in chamoy.
Pulque de guava is a popular
blend of the native alcoholic beverage.
In many countries, guava is eaten raw, typically cut into quarters or
eaten like an apple, whereas in other countries it is eaten with a
pinch of salt and pepper, cayenne powder or a mix of spices (masala).
It is known as the winter national fruit of Pakistan. In the
Philippines, ripe guava is used in cooking sinigang.
Guava is a
popular snack in Taiwan, sold on many street corners and night markets
during hot weather, accompanied by packets of dried plum powder mixed
with sugar and salt for dipping. In east Asia, guava is commonly eaten
with sweet and sour dried plum powder mixtures.
Guava juice is popular
in many countries. The fruit is also often prepared in fruit salads.
Because of its high level of pectin, guavas are extensively used to
make candies, preserves, jellies, jams, and marmalades (such as
Brazilian goiabada and Colombian and Venezuelan bocadillo), and also
for juices and aguas frescas or may be used in a marmalade jam on
Red guavas can be used as the base of salted products such as sauces,
substituting for tomatoes, especially to minimize acidity. A drink may
be made from an infusion of guava fruits and leaves, which in Brazil
is called chá-de-goiabeira, i.e., "tea" of guava tree leaves,
Guavas are rich in dietary fiber and vitamin C, with moderate levels
of folic acid. Having a generally broad, low-calorie profile of
essential nutrients, a single common guava (P. guajava) fruit contains
about four times the amount of vitamin C as an orange.
However, nutrient content varies across guava cultivars. Although the
strawberry guava (P. littorale var. cattleianum) has only 25% of the
amount found in more common varieties, its total vitamin C content in
one serving (90 mg) still provides 100% of the Dietary Reference
Guava leaves contain both carotenoids and polyphenols like
(+)-gallocatechin and leucocyanidin. As some of these
phytochemicals produce the fruit skin and flesh color, guavas that are
red-orange tend to have more polyphenol and carotenoid content than
Guava seed oil
Guava seed oil
Possibly used for culinary or cosmetics products, guava seed oil is a
source of beta carotene, vitamin A, vitamin C, copper, zinc and
The composition of fatty acids in guava seed oil is presented in the
following table, showing that the oil is particularly
rich in linoleic acid.
Saturated fats, total
Unsaturated fats, total
Since the 1950s, guavas – particularly the leaves – have been
studied for their constituents, potential biological properties and
history in folk medicine.
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^ a b c d "
Psidium guajava (guava)". CABI: Invasive Species
Compendium. 2017. Retrieved 9 October 2017.
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A&M Horticulture Program. Retrieved 2012-04-17.
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and Exotic Trees, Shrubs, and Vines. Sarasota, Florida: Pineapple
Press, Inc. p. 99. ISBN 1-56164-372-6.
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devastating". Honolulu Star Bulletin. Retrieved 7 December 2014.
^ "Leveling the Playing Field in Hawai'i's Native Forests" (PDF).
Conservation Council for Hawai‘i. 2010. Retrieved 7 December
^ a b "Top
Guava Producing Countries In The World". WorldAtlas. 2011.
Retrieved 1 December 2017.
^ Nutritiondata.com. "Nutrition facts for common guava". Retrieved
August 17, 2010.
^ Nutritiondata.com. "Nutrition facts for strawberry guava". Retrieved
August 17, 2010.
^ Seshadri TR, Vasishta K (1965). "Polyphenols of the leaves of
psidium guava—quercetin, guaijaverin, leucocyanidin and amritoside".
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Wikibooks Cookbook has a recipe/module on
Media related to Psidium at Wikimedia Commons
Data related to Psidium at Wikispecies
California Rare Fruit Growers: Tropical