|Pineapple Guava - Acca sellowiana (O. Berg) Burret|
Leaves of the Feijoa sellowiana
Pineapple guava fruit
Pineapple guava fruit
Guava trained as an espalier
Same espaliered guava four years later
Bark of a mature tree
Busy, busy, always busy. Chestnut-backed chickadee on a pineapple guava blossom
Love those blossoms! The pineapple guava blossoms are very popular with many critters, including the Fox squirrels
Acca sellowiana (O. Berg) Burret
fay-JOE-uh sell-oh-wee-AY-nuh 3
English: pineapple-guava; German: Feijoa; Portuguese: goiaba-do-campo, goiabeira-serrana; Spanish: falso guayabo, guayaba brasilera, guayaba chilena; Swedish: feijoa 4
Feijoa sellowiana f. elongata Voronova; Acca sellowiana var. rugosa (Mattos) Mattos; F. obovata (O. Berg) O. Berg; F. schenckiana Kiaersk.; F. sellowiana (O.Berg) O. Berg; Orthostemon obovatus O. Berg 10
Blue grape, Myrciaria vexator, cattley guava, Psidium cattleianum; cherry of the Rio Grande, Eugenia aggregata; grumichama, E. brazileinsis; guava, P. guajava; jaboticaba, Myrciaria spp.; pitomba, E. luschnanthiana; stoppers, Eugenia spp. 7
Native to extreme southern Brazil, northern Argentina, western Paraguay and Uruguay 1
USDA hardiness zones
8A-11, grows well in Central and North Florida
Fruit; ornamental specimen; hedge; screen 3
10-15 ft (3-4.6 m)
10-15 ft (3-4.6 m)
Irregular; dense; rounded 3
Rounded, dense shrub 8; compact and erect or spreading 7
24 in. (61 cm) per season
Less than 50 years
Bark light green or red brown; exfoliating or scaly
Needed for strong structure 3
Evergreen; stiff, shiny green above, light grayish-green underneath 8
Thick white petals; scarlet stamens; edible 8; flowers in spring; has perfect flowers; showy
Gray-green; oval; ripe fruit rarely found on bush, usually drops 8
August to October 8
Partial sun or partial shade, full sun 3
Sand; loam; slightly alkaline; acidic; well-drained; well-drained
Aerosol salt tolerance
Soil salt tolerance
Very good 8
Hardy to 14°F (-10°C) 8
Very sensitive to high wind. 2
Not a problem
Invasive potential *
It is not considered a problem species and may be used in Florida 3
Free of pests or diseases of major concern 3
Feijoa sellowiana: Feijoa from the University of Florida pdf
Fact Sheet on the Feijoa from the California Rare Fruit Growers
Feijoa sellowiana from Floridata.com
Feijoa from Julia Morton's book Fruits of Warm Climates
The Feijoa (Feijoa Sellowiana, Berg) from W. Popenoe's book Manual of Tropical and Subtropical Fruits
Pineapple guava is now known scientifically as Acca sellowiana, though some sources still refer to it as Feijoa sellowiana.
The feijoa is native to extreme southern Brazil, northern Argentina, western Paraguay and Uruguay where it is common wild in the mountains. 1
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. 3
If 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.
Pineapple guava was named a Florida Garden Select plant in 2009 by the Florida Nursery Growers and Landscape Association. It can be grown anywhere in Florida and is especially suited for coastal area gardens because it tolerates salt spray. The plant is also commonly known as feijoa. It appears to be free of serious pests and diseases. 1
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 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
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
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.
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
Also note that fruit set may be low in extreme southern Florida, since the plants fruit better when they’re exposed to cold temperatures for a certain period of time each winter. Extreme heat in summer may also cause them to drop fruit prematurely. 1
Most varieties are grafted onto a rootstock, which tends to sucker. Regularly rub off suckers below the graft union.
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. 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
Light pruning in the summer after fruit is harvested will encourage new growth and increase yields the following year. Thinning the plant also permits easier harvesting. 9
Plant at least three varieties for proper cross pollination. 8
It has been said that feijoa pollen is transferred by birds that are attracted to and eat the flowers, but bees are the chief pollinators. Most flowers pollinated with compatible pollen show 60 to 90% fruit set. Hand pollination is nearly 100% effective. Two or more bushes should be planted together for cross-pollination unless the cultivar is known to be self-compatible. Poor bearing is usually the result of inadequate pollination. 9
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.
When grown from seed, feijoas are noted for extremely slow growth during their first year or two. 2
Seeds are separated by squeezing the seedy pulp into a container, covering with water, and letting the liquid stand for 4 days to ferment. The seeds are then strained out and dried before sowing. The seeds will retain viability for a year or more if kept dry. Germination takes place in 3 weeks. The plant fruits in 3 - 5 years from seed. 9
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
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.
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. 16).
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
Fertilize trees once or twice during the growing season.
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.
No pests or diseases are of major concern
When preparing feijoas for eating or preserving, peeling should be immediately followed by dipping into a weak salt solution or into water containing fresh lemon juice. Both of these methods will prevent the flesh from oxidizing (turning brown). The flesh and pulp (with seeds) are eaten raw as dessert or in salads, or are cooked in puddings, pastry fillings, fritters, dumplings, fruit-sponge-cake, pies or tarts, or employed as flavoring for ice cream or soft drinks. Surplus fruits may be peeled, halved and preserved in syrup in glass jars, or sliced and crystallized, or made into chutney, jam, jelly, conserve, relish, sauce or sparkling wine. 6
The thick petals are spicy and are eaten fresh by children and sometimes by adults. The petals may be plucked without interfering with fruit set. 6
Eat them fresh by cutting them in half and scooping out the pulp, or turn them into a delicious jelly. 1
Fig. 20. Feijoa pannacotta at Vino Vino. The wonderful world of Feijoa in dessert, in vodka, all over the place
Fig. 21. Guava pineapple. Refreshing!
Fig. 22. Spiced Pineapple Guava (Feijoa) Chutney
The feijoa pulp is used in some natural cosmetic products as an exfoliant. 2
The wood is moderately heavy, compact, elastic, splits easily, very durable even in adverse conditions. It can be used for small works, posts, stays etc. The wood is used for fuel and to make charcoal. 11
Feijoa (Feijoa sellowiana) from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
Feijoas from the Sub-tropical Fruit Club of Qld Inc.
Hand Pollinating Video ext link.
Florida Crop/Pest Management Profile: Guava and Wax Jambu from the University of Florida pdf 5 pages
The New Zealand Feijoa Growers Association ext link.
Pineapple Guava Botanical Art
List of Growers and Vendors
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. Web. 5 Apr. 2015.
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.
6 Morton, J. "Feijoa." hort.purdue.edu. Fruits of Warm Climates, p. 367-370, 1987. Web. 28 Aug. 2014.
7 Boning, Charles R. Florida's Best Fruiting Plants- Native and Exotic Trees, Shrubs, and Vines. Pineapple Press, Inc. Sarasota, Florida. 2006, pp. 90-91.
8 Maxwell, Lewis S., and Betty M. Maxwell. Florida Fruit. Lewis S. Maxwell. Tampa, Florida, 1991. pp. 53.
9 "Feijoa." crfg.org. 1996. Web. 18 Jan. 2014.
10 "Acca sellowiana (O.Berg) Burret cynonyms." The Plant List (2010). Version 1. theplantlist.org. Web. 7 June 2017.
11 Lorenzi, Harri. Brazilian Trees, a Guide to the Identification and Cultivation of Brazilian Native Trees. 4th ed., Vol. 1, Instituto Plantarum de Estudos da Flora ltda, Brazil, 2002. pp. 270.
Fig. 1 HortReseach. Feijoa. 2006. wikipedia.org. Web. 6 Dec. 2014.
Fig. 2,3,4,10,11,15,19 Fitter, M., Mark, W. and Reimer, J. SelecTree. Feijoa sellowiana Photo Record. 1995-2015. selectree.calpoly.edu. Web. 5 Apr. 2015.
Fig. 5,6,7,8,9,13,16 Jackson, Karen. "Pineapple guava Series." 2014. growables.org. File JPG
Fig. 12 Feijoa sellowiana. toptropicals.com. Web. 7 Dec. 2014.
Fig. 14 Descouens, Didier. Pineapple guava (Acca sellowiana syn : feijoa sellowiana, Myrtaceae) fruits. Fronton, Haute -Garonne France. 2013. wikipedia.org. Web. 6 Dec. 2014.
Fig. 17 Jackson, Karen. "Pineapple guava Series." 2017. growables.org. File JPG
Fig. 18 Yelod. Acca sellowiana. 2008. wikipedia.org. Web. 5 Apr. 2015.
Fig. 20 Deepwarren. Feijoa pannacotta at Vino Vino. The wonderful world of Feijoa in dessert, in vodka, all over the place. 2011. flickr.com. Under (CC BY-NC 2.0). Web. 26 June 2017.
Fig. 21 Chan, Vernon. Guava pineapple. Refreshing! 2012. flickr.com. Under (CC BY-NC 2.0). Web. 26 June 2017.
Fig. 22 andiezoe. Spiced Pineapple Guava (Feijoa) Chutney. 2012. flickr.com. Under (CC BY-NC 2.0). Web. 26 June 2017.
Fig. 23 Greenberg, Doug. Busy, busy, always busy. Chestnut-backed chickadee on a pineapple guava blossom. 2017. flickr.com. Under (CC BY-NC 2.0). Web. 26 June 2017.
Fig. 24 Greenberg, Doug. Love those blossoms! The pineapple guava blossoms are very popular with many critters, including the Fox squirrels. 2017. flickr.com. Under (CC BY-NC 2.0). Web. 26 June 2017.
* UF/IFAS Assessment of Non-native Plants in Florida's Natural Areas
** Information provided is not intended to be used as a guide for treatment of medical conditions.
Published 18 Jan. 2014 LR. Last update 12 Oct. 2017 LR