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Psidium guajava

Common Guava

Origin:  Due to widespread cultivation and distribution by mankind, the exact origin of the Common Guava is unknown. Now grown in nearly every country that can, its presence throughout the world is vast. It is believed to originate from Central America to the West Indies.
            Mike's Opinion

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Archaeological discoveries have shown humans eating the fruit of Common Guava since 800 BC, making it a source of food by humanity for centuries. (Lindford, 2007, pg.123). Widely distributed throughout the world this plant is a staple of many cultures, used as a culinary ingredient, eaten raw, turned into juice, and used to make “Guava Cheese. The wood of Psidium guajava is also valued for use as charcoal or creating engravings or handles. Overall, an attractive tree with delicate form and copper bark, it is unfortunately also quite invasive in many regions.

Michael Pascoe, NDP., ODH., CLT., MSc. (Plant Conservation)


Tree (evergreen)
USDA Hardiness Zone
Canadian Hardiness Zone
Requires cool season protection under glass.
RHS Hardiness Zone
Temperature (°C)
(-1) - 2
Temperature (°F)
30 -35
8 - 10 m
8 - 10 m
Description and Growing Information
Flowering Period
General Description
An evergreen, small sized tree with slim, spreading branches and exfoliating copper bark which reveals the green beneath it. Produces small white flowers and fragrant green to yellow edible fruit, it is widespread throughout the world due to its many uses. This tree is unable to withstand cold or severely waterlogged conditions.
With its relatively small size and eye-catching bark and blooms, the Common Guava can make a good specimen or accent plant. Psidium guajava is primarily grown for its fruit, which has been noted, with its flowers, to attract pollinators and other wildlife. As it is tolerant of poor, sandy soils, it can be used to take advantage of less fertile land.
Capable of growing in many conditions, this tree is tolerant of poor soil and pH ranging from 4.5 - 9.5, it is also somewhat salt tolerant (Morton, 2017). Requiring full sun and well drained soil, it can still be considered quite invasive in many countries as it is able to thrive where many other fruit trees can not.
A small tree with low branches, a spreading form and as wide as it is tall.
ID Characteristic
Due to its small size and smooth, flaking copper and green bark, this tree can be easy to identify. Thin branches hold opposite, ovate to oblong green leaves, small white flowers with numerous stamens and green to yellow rounded, lumpy fruit.
Since Psidium guajava is a widely distributed fruit tree, it has numerous pest issues. In India alone it is eaten by 80 different species of insect. It is the main host of Mediterranean, Mexican, and Caribbean fruit flies, which infest ripe fruits and destroy entire crops. It is also heavily damaged by Citrus Flat Mite in Egypt, and various fungal diseases after insects have punctured the walls of the fruit. (Morton, 2017). Frequency of pest infestations varies heavily based on region.
Prefers an average yearly rainfall of 1000 – 2000 mm annually and unable to withstand frost for more than a short period. Psidium guajava can spread so well in different conditions, it is considered a noxious weed in some areas. It can form entire thickets of Guava trees, and overrun roadsides and fields. Able to grow almost anywhere it can thrive in full sun.
Bark/Stem Description
Thin, delicate branching with a copper bark that flakes with age, revealing a green underneath. The main stem will reach an average of 30 cm in diameter.
Flower/Leaf Bud Description
Flower buds are glabrous, green, and split into 4 – 6 lobes when opened. Approximately 17 mm long at flower bud stage.
Leaf Description
Leathery, oppositely arranged, ovate to oblong leaves. An evergreen, with a slightly irregular outline and distinct parallel leaf veins, 7 – 15 cm long, and 3 – 5 cm wide.
Flower Description
Flowers are white in small groups or alone in the leaf axils. Slightly fragrant, 2.5 cm wide flowers quickly shed their 4 – 6 petals and display numerous white stamens with yellow tips.
Fruit Description
Round, 5 – 10 cm in diameter with protruding floral remnants at the base. Green to yellow in colour, the fruit is lumpy and fragrant when ripe. Hard, 1 – 3 mm long seeds are surrounded by yellow or pinkish flesh. High in vitamin C, with a fully edible, somewhat leathery skin.
Colour Description
Starting with a copper colour bark that flakes and reveals a green underneath with age, attached are leaves that are green and flowers that are white once bloomed. With a green to yellow skin, the fruit has a yellow to pink flesh that surrounds a yellow to white seed.
Texture Description
Common Guava is not particularly difficult to propagate, able to be grown from seed in a few weeks, the seeds will remain viable for several months. As seeds have more diversity, cloning is a more common technique for propagation. To gain a consistent crop many use root cuttings, but branches can also quite easily root with the assistance of rooting hormone. Air layering has also been found to be effective, but overall, more difficult and time consuming, as such it is used less often. Guava is even able to grow new shoots from a severed trunk.
Ethnobotanical Uses (Disclaimer)
Edible and very high in vitamin C, the fruit is used to make juice and a thick paste known as “guava cheese”. Used to provide a distinctive smoked flavour to meats, the wood has cooking value as well. Guavas are also high in antioxidants and used for various medicinal purposes in some countries. Used to treat diarrhea, wounds, and skin sores, amongst many others. (Medina & Herrero, 2015).
Lindford, J. (2007). A Pocket Guide to Trees. Parragon Books Ltd. CABI, 2021. Psidium guajava [original text by Rojas-Sandoval, J. & Acevedo-Rodríguez, P.]. In: Invasive Species Compendium. Wallingford, UK: CAB International.