Family: Myrtaceae | Place of Origin: South America
Origins and history:
Originally being native to South America, Guava was introduced to India by the Portuguese in the 17th century where it is now currently produced for commercial uses. Guava is also produced in Mexico, Brazil and Thailand. Guava is currently considered an invasive species in many tropical/subtropical islands.
- Stems and Leaves: Older stems are light red to brown in color (rust colored), with younger stems and bark appearing light green. Bark is often papery, flaking off giving stems a spotted appearance (pictured left). Leaves appear in pairs opposite each other on each side of the stem. Each leaf has a vein going down the middle with 10-20 pairs of veins coming off of that one. The edge of each leaf is smooth, and the underside of each is fuzzy to the touch.
- Flowers and Fruit: Flowers often have 4-5 white petals, producing a round, pear- or egg-shaped fruit. Fruits are green to yellow when mature. The pulp of the fruit is either pink, white or yellow (pink pictured right) containing numerous seeds. Fruits are sweet and produce a strong floral scent.
- Size and Habitat: Guava plants range in size from small shrubs to trees, typically 1-6m tall, sometimes reaching up to as much as 10m tall. These plants thrive in both wet and arid tropical-subtropical regions worldwide.
Uses and preparation
Guava is often eaten raw or juiced. Parts of the plant ranging from fruit to bark are used to treat a wide variety of medical conditions. Guava also has a vitamin C content higher than an orange by up to four times as well as being a good source of dietary fiber and folic acid.