About 100 species, including:
Guava (from Spanish; Goiaba in Portuguese) is a genus of about 100 species of tropical shrubs and small trees in the myrtle family Myrtaceae, native to the Caribbean, Central America and northern South America. The leaves are opposite, simple, elliptic to ovate, 5-15 cm long. The flowers are white, with five petals and numerous stamens.
The fruit is edible, round to pear-shaped, from 3-10 cm in diameter (to 12 cm in some selected cultivars). It has a thin delicate rind, pale green to yellow at maturity in some species, pink to red in others, a creamy white or orange-salmon flesh with many small hard seeds, and a strong characteristic aroma which people either love or hate. It is rich in vitamins A, B, and C.
Cultivation and uses
Guavas are cultivated in many tropical countries because of their edible fruits. Several species are grown commercially; those listed in the box right are the most important. The fruit is commonly eaten whole, like an apple, or sliced and served with sugar and cream as a dessert. In Asia, raw guava is often dipped in salt or prune powder. Boiled guava is also extensively used to make candies, preserves, jellies, jams, marmalades (goiabada), and juices.
The plants are frost-sensitive. In several tropical regions, some species have become invasive weed shrubs, including Hawaii. It is also of interest for home growers in temperate areas, as one of the very few tropical fruit that can be grown to fruiting size in pots indoors.
- Fruits of Warm Climates: Guava (http://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/morton/guava.html)
- California Rare Fruit Growers: Tropical Guava Fruit Facts (http://www.crfg.org/pubs/ff/guava.html)
- Guava nutrition information (http://www.kallipolis.com/diet/food.php?id=9139&w=2)