A Red Flower Is Crossed With A Yellow Flower History Of The Guava

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History Of The Guava

Spanish explorers of the early 1500s discovered the strawberry guava, ‘Acca seloviana O.’ It was found growing as a native tree in the Americas, where it was firmly established from Mexico south to Peru. History records that the Seminole Indians were growing guava trees in North Florida in 1816.

Strawberry guava, ‘Acca seloviana O.,’ can grow into trees up to 25 feet tall and is planted by homeowners as a privacy hedge that is easily pruned or grown as a windbreak. A guava tree can be trained to one or more trunks by pruning and will grow into a masterpiece plant covered in exotic flowers in late spring. The wood is gray in color, and the grain is very hard and dense. The leaves are small, distinctly flat green in color, making the plants easily recognizable from a distance.

A guava tree or shrub is slow growing and requires two plants for cross-pollination. The plant is cold hardy to 15 degrees Fahrenheit and tolerant of saline water. Bees and hummingbirds visit the red and yellow flowers, and pollinator visits produce a heavy set of fruits.

Guava fruit is classified as a berry by most botanists and occurs in clusters with individual berries less than an inch in size. Each guava berry is covered with a rough rind and the inner pulp can be white, pink or red in color.

Guava grows best in partial shade in acidic soil. The plants are virtually disease free and the fruit is usually harvested by shaking the mature guavas when they change color and are collected on sheets or tarps. The fruit keeps well in the refrigerator for up to a week and can be peeled and eaten as fresh fruit, as a dessert or in a salad. The color of the pulp remains bright if the fruit is dipped in diluted lemon juice.

The fruit is commercially made into puddings, pies, juices and jellies and is a rich source of vitamins A and C, as well as many beneficial minerals. Guava is cultivated commercially in Florida and California, and the shrub has naturalized in many southern forests and is mistaken for a native historic plant.

“Guavawin” is a traditional Central Florida event and fundraiser held annually to celebrate the arrival of Peru in conjunction with parades and festivals planned for the holidays in Ybor City, Florida, outside of Tampa, Florida around Halloween. This “Guavaeen” event is celebrated every year in the last period of October.

There are many types of guava; A tropical guava, ‘Psidium guajava L.’ It is an important crop in Hawaii, with fruit production exceeding 15 million pounds per year. These guava fruits are technically considered berries, and the trees grow as native plants in forests on the island of Kuwai. Before harvesting, plants are vigorously pruned, fertilized and irrigated. In response to pruning, new vigorous shoots grow and guavas form on new wood, producing delicious fruits inside the flowers and taking about seven months to fully develop.

Most travelers to Florida in the last century will remember the many tourist stops along US Highway #1 and US 41 which have now been converted into Interstate Highways I-1 and I-75. Tourist shops like “Stucky’s” were filled with souvenirs like pecan logs. One of the most memorable items displayed for sale is guava jelly, jam, paste or any other imaginable product that uses the magical fruit of the guava tree. All these little jars of jellies and other guava products were a sight to behold, revealing their contents in shades of mint green, red, yellow and blue.

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