Pineapple Guava - Acca (Feijoa) sellowiana
Common Names: English: pineapple-guava; German:Feijoa; Portuguese: goiaba-do-campo, goiabeira-serrana; Spanish: falso guayabo, guayaba brasilera, guayaba chilena; Swedish: feijoa 4
Synonyms: Feijoa sellowiana
gardening were an Olympic sport, pineapple guava might be a contender
for best all-around shrub. This attractive evergreen can be grown
throughout Florida and is a favorite for its attractive silvery
foliage, unusual flowers, and edible fruits.
Description: Feijoa sellowiana , or Pineapple Guava, is a gray-green evergreen shrub or tree (depending on pruning) which produces small, tasty fruit in late summer and early fall. The plants can be pruned to form a hedge or a small tree and will withstand several degrees below freezing. It is native to South America. The plant is not used nor is it commonly available in the eastern U.S. 3
Leaf: The evergreen, egg-shaped leaves are 2 to 3 inches long and have silvery, slightly fuzzy undersides that often give the entire plant a slight bluish cast. 1
Flowers: The flowers appear from April through May and are 1 to 2 inches across. The fleshy petals are white or a soft pink and the stamens are a striking burgundy. An extra perk is that the flowers are edible and can be added to salads and other dishes. 1
Fruit: The fruit, maturing in autumn, is green, ellipsoid, and about the size of a chicken egg. It has a sweet, aromatic flavor, which tastes like pineapple, apple and mint. The flesh is juicy and is divided into a clear, gelatinous seed pulp and a firmer, slightly granular, opaque
flesh nearer the skin. The fruit falls to the ground when ripe and at its fullest flavor, but it may be picked from the tree prior to falling to prevent bruising.
The fruit pulp resembles the closely related guava, having a gritty texture. The feijoa pulp is used in some natural cosmetic products as an exfoliant. Feijoa fruit has a distinctive, potent smell that resembles that of a fine perfume. The aroma is due to the ester methyl benzoate and related compounds that exist in the fruit. 2
Fruits ripen in 5-7 months. Between August and October, the egg-shaped fruits begin to mature and ripen, starting out gray-green and then turning a reddish-brown. They fall off the plant when they’re ready to eat, though they can be picked earlier and left to ripen on a kitchen counter. The fruit emits a strong long-lasting perfume, even before it is fully ripe. The thick, white, granular, watery flesh and the translucent central pulp enclosing the seeds are sweet or sub-acid, suggesting a combination of pineapple and guava or pineapple and strawberry, often with overtones of winter green or spearmint. Eat them fresh by cutting them in half and scooping out the pulp, or turn them into a delicious jelly. 1
To be appreciated, this fruit must be eaten at the proper degree of ripeness. M. Viviand-Morel says, "Everyone knows that the finest pears are only turnips if eaten a trifle too soon or a trifle too late." The observation is applicable also to the feijoa. 5
It can be trained as a tree, a hedge or an espalier. The silver green foliage makes it a great scrub, small tree or topiary. It can be used as a focal point in the landscape or as a privacy screen.
Culture: Although pineapple guavas are moderately drought tolerant, they need regular watering to produce high-quality fruit. Depending on your climate and soil type, give established trees a deep soaking every week or two during summer. Water young trees oftener and make sure you soak the rootball thoroughly. Fertilize trees once or twice during the growing season.
Most varieties are grafted onto a rootstock, which tends to sucker. Regularly rub off suckers below the graft union.
Pruning: Pineapple guava can easily be pruned to form a dense hedge or trained into a small tree with a single trunk. Left unpruned, it can reach up to 15 feet tall and 15 feet wide. For added interest, try training it as an espalier (Fig. 14).
To train trees, prune right after harvest. Since the wood is brittle, keep branches with wide crotch angles and prune off ones with narrow angles. You can also trim plants during the growing season, but avoid shearing off flowers and developing fruit. 1
Propagation: Gardeners who want to enjoy fruit may wish to purchase one of the named self-fruiting varieties like ‘Coolidge’ that have shown to perform well in Florida. Pineapple guava can be grown from seed, but seedlings are slow growing and may not produce high quality fruit.
that fruit set may be low in extreme southern Florida, since the plants
fruit better when they’re exposed to cold temperatures for a
period of time each winter. Extreme heat in summer may also cause them
to drop fruit prematurely. 1
Plant at least three varieties for proper cross pollination.
It is a warm-temperate to subtropical plant that also will grow in the tropics, but requires at least 50 hours of winter chilling to fruit, and is frost-tolerant. When grown from seed, feijoas are noted for extremely slow growth during their first year or two, and young plants, though cold tolerant, can be very sensitive to high wind. 2
The feijoa requires little care beyond good soil preparation before planting. Subsequent cultivation is inadvisable because of the plant's shallow, fibrous root system which should be left undisturbed. If planted for its fruit, fertilizer should be low in nitrogen to avoid excessive vegetative growth. It should be watered liberally during hot, dry spells. 1
Hand Pollinating Video
Florida Crop/Pest Management Profile: Guava and Wax Jambu from the University of Florida pdf 5 pages
Feijoa Australia ext link.
1 "Pineapple Guava." gardeningsolutions.ifas.ufl.edu. UF/IFAS, Gardening Solutions. N.d. Web. 18 Jan. 2014.
2 "Acca sellowiana." wikipedia.org. Web. 6 Dec. 2014.
3 Gilman, Edward, F. and Watson, Dennis G. "Feijoa sellowiana: Feijoa." edis.ifas.ufl.edu. This document is ENH408, one of a series of the Environmental Horticulture, UF/IFAS Extension. Publication date Nov. 1993. Reviewed Feb. 2014.
4 "Acca sellowiana." ars-grin.gov. USDA Germplasm Resouces Information Network. Web. 5 Apr. 2015.
5 Popenoe, Wilson. "The Feijoa." chestofbooks.com. Manual of Tropical and Subtropical fruits. 1920. Web. 6 Apr. 2015.
Fig. 1 HortReseach. Feijoa. 2006. wikipedia.org. Web. 6 Dec. 2014.
Fig. 2 O'Brien, Robert. Pineapple guava, Feijoa sellowiana. N.d. selectree.calpoly.edu. Web. 2 Apr. 2015.
Fig. 3, 12,15 Fitter, M., Mark, W. and Reimer, J. SelecTree. Feijoa sellowiana Photo Record. 1995-2015. selectree.calpoly.edu. Web. 5 Apr. 2015.
Fig. 4,5,6,7,8,10,14 Jackson, Karen. "Pineapple guava Series." 2014. growables.org. File JPG
Fig. 11 Descouens, Didier. Pineapple guava (Acca sellowiana syn : feijoa sellowiana, Myrtaceae) fruits. 2013. Fronton, Haute -Garonne France.wikipedia.org. Web. 6 Dec. 2014.
Fig.9 Feijoa sellowiana. toptropicals.com. Web. 7 Dec. 2014.
Fig. 13 Yelod. Acca sellowiana. 2008. wikipedia.org. Web. 5 Apr. 2015.
Published 18 Jan. 2014 LR. Last update to 25 Apr. 2017 LR