from Agroforestree Database: a tree reference and selection guide version 4.0
by Orwa C, A Mutua, Kindt R, Jamnadass R, S Anthony
Psidium guajava L.
Local Names: Amharic (zeituna);
Arabic (juafa,juava,guwâfah); Bengali (goaachhi,piyara,peyara);
Burmese (malakapen); Creole Patois (gwayav); Dutch (goejaba); English
(common guava,guava); Filipino (bayabas,guyabas); French
(goyava,goyavier); German (Guavenbaum,guava); Hawaian (kuawa); Hindi
(goaachhi,jamba,amrud,amarood,sapari,safed safari); Indonesian (jambu
biji); Japanese (banjiro); Javanese (jambu klutuk); Khmer (trapaek
sruk); Lao (Sino-Tibetan) (si da); Luganda (mupeera); Malay (jambu
berase,jambu biji,jambu kampuchia,jambu batu); Mandinka (biabo);
Portuguese (goiaba); Sanskrit (mansala); Sinhala (koiya,pera); Spanish
(araza-puita,gauyaba blanca,perulera,guaiaba dulce,guayaba,Guayaba
agria,guayaba común,guayabillo,agria); Swahili (mpera); Tamil
(koyya); Thai (ma-man,farang,ma-kuai); Tigrigna (zeitun); Urdu (amrud);
Psidium guajava is a
large dicotyledonous shrub, or small evergreen tree, generally 3-10 m
high, many branches; stems crooked, bark light to reddish brown, thin,
smooth, continuously flaking; root system generally superficial and
very extensive, frequently extending well beyond the canopy, there are
some deep roots but no distinct taproot.
simple; stipules absent, petiole short, 3-10 mm long; blade oblong to
elliptic, 5-15 x 4-6 cm, apex obtuse to bluntly acuminate, base rounded
to subcuneate, margins entire, somewhat thick and leathery, dull grey
to yellow-green above, slightly downy below, veins prominent, gland
Inflorescence, axillary, 1- to 3-flowered, pedicles
about 2 cm long, bracts 2, linear. Calyx splitting irregularly into 2-4
lobes, whitish and sparsely hairy within; petals 4-5, white,
linear-ovate c. 2 cm long, delicate; stamens numerous, filaments pale
white, about 12 mm long, erect or spreading, anther straw coloured;
ovary inferior, ovules numerous, style about 10 cm long, stigma green,
Fruit an ovoid or pear-shaped berry, 4-12 cm long,
weighing up to 500 g; skin yellow when ripe, sometimes flushed with
red; pulp juicy, creamywhite or creamy-yellow to pink or red; mesocarp
thick, edible, the soft pulp enveloping numerous, cream to brown,
kidney-shaped or flattened seeds. The exterior of the fruit is fleshy,
and the centre consists of a seedy pulp.
From the Greek psidion (pomegranate), due to a fancied resemblance between the two fruits.
pollen is viable for up to 42 hours and the stigmas are receptive for
about 2 days. Bees are the principal pollinators. There is some self-
and cross-incompatibility but several cultivars have set fair crops of
seedless or few-seeded fruit. Levels of 60-75% selfing have been found
in natural populations; this has been used to produce homozygotic
varieties that can be propagated from seed. It is not known to what
extent erratic flowering through the year affects pollination
intensity. One of the most critical botanical characteristics of guava
is that flowers are borne on newly emerging lateral shoots,
irrespective of the time of year. The floral structure, which makes
emasculation difficult and with a juvenile period of 3-5 years limit
Seedlings may flower within 2 years;
clonally propagated trees often begin to bear during the first year
after planting. Trees reach full bearing after 5- 8 years, depending on
growing conditions and spacing. The guava is not a long-lived tree
(about 40 years), but the plants may bear heavily for 15-25 years. Bats
are the main fruit dispersal agents.
appears to have evolved in relatively open areas, such as
savannah/shrub transitional zones, or in frequently disturbed areas
where it is a strong competitor in early secondary growth. In some
areas it is found in large thickets with as many as 100 plants in an
area of less than half a hectare, although it is more often found in
densities of 1-5 plants/ha. P. guajava
is considered a noxious weed in many tropical pasture lands (when
chemical control is not available, guava proliferation may result in
the abandonment of a pasture). The guava is a hardy tree that adapts to
a wide range of growing conditions. It can stand a wide range of
temperatures; the highest yields are recorded at mean temperatures of
23-28 deg. C. In the subtropics quiescent trees withstand light frost
and 3.5-6 months (depending on the cultivar) of mean temperatures above
16 deg. C suffice for flowering and fruiting. It fruits at altitudes up
to 1 500 m and survives up to 2 000 m. Guava is more drought-resistant
than most tropical fruit crops. For maximum production in the tropics,
however it requires rainfall distributed over the year. If fruit ripens
during a very wet period it loses flavour and may split.
Altitude: 0-2 000 m, Mean annual temperature: 15-45 deg. C, Mean annual rainfall: 1 000-2 000 mm
type: Soils vary widely, including slightly to strongly acid. As
expected from a secondary colonizer, it grows well on poor soils with
reasonably good drainage, however growth and production are better on
rich clay loams.
Documented Species Distribution
Native: Colombia, Mexico, Peru, United States of America
Australia, Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, Cameroon, China, Costa Rica,
Cote d'Ivoire, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Eritrea, Ethiopia,
Fiji, Gabon, Gambia, Greece, Guyana, Haiti, India, Indonesia, Israel,
Kenya, Laos, Malawi, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nigeria, Pakistan, Panama,
Philippines, Puerto Rico, Samoa, Senegal, South Africa, Sri Lanka,
Sudan, Tanzania, Thailand, Togo, Uganda, Venezuela, Vietnam
map above shows countries where the species has been planted. It does
neither suggest that the species can be planted in every ecological
zone within that country, nor that the species can not be planted in
other countries than those depicted. Since some tree species are
invasive, you need to follow biosafety procedures that apply to your
The whole fruit is edible; flavour varies from very acid to sweet with
the best fruit being both sweet and mildly acid. It has a pleasant
aroma, is very high in vitamin C (10-2 000 mg/100 g of fruit), and a
rich source of vitamin A and pectin (0.1-1.8%). Pectin content
increases during ripening and declines rapidly in over-ripe fruit.
Table varieties with good taste, large size and high pulp to seed
ratio, have been developed for the fresh fruit market in many
countries. Other varieties have been developed for the industrial
purposes and the following wide variety of products are available:
canned fruit or mesocarps in sweet syrup, puree, goiabada (a type of
thick, sweet jam), jams and jellies, juices and nectars, ice cream and
yoghurts. Guava paste, or guava cheese as known in the West Indies, is
made by evaporating the pulp with sugar; it is eaten as a sweetmeat. A
firm in the Philippines dehydrates slices of the outer, non-seeded part
of the fruit to make a similar product. In some Asian countries such as
Indonesia, the leaves are used in cooking.
White fragrant flowers secrete nectar in excess all day attracting
bees, which also collect juice from the damaged fruits. In India for
instance, the blossoms occur in May and June.
Wood makes excellent firewood and charcoal because of its abundance,
natural propagation, and classification as an undesirable weed.
Sapwood light brown, heartwood brown or reddish; hard, moderately
strong and durable. It is used for tool handle, fence posts and in
carpentry and turnery.
Tannin or dyestuff: The leaves and bark may be used for dyeing and tanning.
Essential oil: Plant contains an essential oil. The volatile oil with methylchavicol, persein and d-pinene (a paraffin) is found in the leaf.
Alcohol: Winemaking from the fruit has been commercialized in southern Africa.
Poison: P. guajava has insecticidal properties.
All parts of the young fruit are astringent. Guava exhibits
antibacterial action against intestinal pathogens such as
Staphyloccocus. The dried ripe fruits are recommended as a remedy for
dysentery, while the leaves and fruits are used as a cure for
diarrhoea. Oil contains bisabolene and flavinoides that exhibit
anti-inflammatory properties. A decoction of the leaves or bark is
taken externally as a lotion for skin complaints, ringworm, wounds, and
ulcers. Water from soaking the fruit is good to treat diabetes. The
leaves are made into a cataplasm; cooked, they are given to horses with
Some suggested treatments are digestive tract ailments,
cold, and high blood pressure: leaf decoction or fruit juice with salt
or sugar taken orally. Trauma, pain, headache, and rheumatism: hot leaf
decoction compress. Sore throat, hoarse throat: leaf decoction, gargle.
Varix, ulcer: leaf decoction, treated with warm water, bath. Hepatitis,
gonorrhoea, and diarrhoea: clear fruit juice.
Ornamental: Widely cultivated as an ornamental fruit tree.
Boundary or barrier or support: P. guajava has been used to stake yams (Dioscorea spp.); the small tree is cut back and used to support them. Yield increases of 33-85% have been recorded in Nigeria.
Performed very well when intercropped with fodder crops such as maize,
sorghum and cowpeas. Tree growth reduction is very small. Pollution
control: Identified as useful for bio-indication and as a
bio-accumulator in India. It is sensitive to sulphur dioxide;
sensitivity to injury based on chlorophyll destruction.
intensively managed orchards in Thailand trees are spaced only 4-6 m
apart but seedlings for fruit processing may be spaced up to 10 x 8 m
apart. Irrigation during the dry season and frequent light pruning to
promote the emergence of flowering shoots are employed for continuity
of production throughout the year. When the crop is cycled most
fertilizer is applied as a basal dressing at the end of the harvest, if
necessary supplemented by a top dressing; if trees are cropped
continuously, fertilizers are applied in several small doses. Growth
rate is excellent and the plants coppice readily. Branching is
extensive and pruning is necessary to form good orchard trees. Firewood
cuttings cause excessive propagation by formulation of sprouts and
Best time of day to harvest is early morning because by
noon fruit is warmer and deteriorates more rapidly. During harvesting,
great care is necessary to avoid fruit damage, as when collected almost
ripe, they will only store for about 2- 3 days at room temperature.
Fruit for industrial purposes do not need such care but greater speed
is still essential. Average yields are between 30-40 kg/plant in 5
year-old plants and will reach a maximum production of 50-70 kg at
about 7 years if well managed.
storage behaviour is orthodox; seeds at 6% mc survive 24 hours in
liquid nitrogen; no loss in viability following 66 months hermetic
storage at -20 deg. C with 5.5% mc.
Pests and Diseases
Insect pests are numerous and in some cases severe. Fruit fly maggots such as Anastrepha striata, Dacus spp. and Ceratitis spp. are especially troublesome. Aphids (Aphis spp.) feed on young growth, causing the curling of leaves. Selenothirps rubrocinctus,
the red-banded thirp; adult and larval forms puncture leaves of the
infested tree and brownish stains appear. Heavily infested trees are
sometimes completely defoliated.
In Brazil yellow rust (Puccina psidii) is an extremely serious fungal pest, as are leaf spot (Phyllosticha guajayae) and anthracnose (Colletotrichum gloeosporioides). The green scale (Coccus viridis) occurs on branches. Fruit rot (Glomerella cingulata) shrivels green fruit and rots ripe fruit. Mushroom root rot (Clitocybe tabescens) can eventually kill the tree.
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