Guava – A Gift from South America to the World

Guava, with a scientific name of Psidium guajava Linn., it is a Myrtaceae tree which can grow up to 13 meters tall. The tree bark is smooth, brownish grey in color and flaky. The twigs are angled, with coat. Leaf blade with leathery feel, in oblong to elliptic shape, apex is obtuse or obtuse. Leaf base is rounded, slightly rough above, hairy below.  The leaf also has about 12-15 pairs lateral veins, often sunken, reticulate veins can be visible. Length of leaf petiole is about 5 mm. Flowers can be a solitary or 2-3 cymes in a row; calyx tube is in bell shape, hairy, calyx cap is irregularly split; petals is white in color; stamens is about 6-9 mm long.  The fruit is globose, ovoid or pear in shape.  The flesh is in white, yellowish white or even pink in color. There are lots of seed at the center of the fruit, which takes up about 70% of the volume of the fruit.

Native to South America, Guava is a very adaptive tropical fruit tree. It has spread through tropical and subtropical regions around the world since the 16-17 century.  Now it is widely cultivate in regions and countries such as North America, Oceania, New Zealand, the Pacific Islands, Indonesia, India, Malaysia, North Africa, Vietnam, etc…  It was introduced into China at the end of the seventeenth Century. It is widely grown in Taiwan, Hainan, Guangdong, Guangxi, Fujian, Jiangxi, Yunnan, Southwest of Sichuan and other provinces.  There are even some places have their own wild fruit trees.

The tree usually grows in the wasteland or low hill sides; the leaves contain volatile oil and tannin which can be used medicine.  It can help to stop diarrhea, bleeding, stomachache and other effects.  Tannin can be removed by the leaves in the water, then dry them and they can be made into tea that would help to sooth the “heaty” effect.

The tree is only suitable to grow in tropical and subtropical areas with average temperature in summer should be more than 15 degrees centigrade.  If the temperature in winter falls below -2 degrees centigrade, it may freeze the young trees to death.   It is best grown in sandy loam and clay loam with good drainage with pH value between 4.5 and 8.0.

Guava taste sweet and juicy, soft flesh, there are some subspecies are seedless.  Compared with apples, guava contains 38% less fat and 42% less calories.  That make it become a better fruit for people with less exercise.

Guava is also widely used in food processing industry, the main purpose is to increase the content of vitamin C in food, so that food nutrition can be strengthened and improved.

Guava can be eaten fresh or boiled, and cooked guava can produce sauces, jellies, sour sauces and other sauces. To increase the flavor, guava puree, juices or even fresh fruit chunks are added into salad, pie, pudding, ice cream, yogurt and some other fruit drinks.  

Guava itself is rich in nutrients, not only high content of protein and vitamin C, but also with vitamin A, B and minerals such as calcium, phosphorus, iron, potassium and so on. Guava is also rich in dietary fiber, carotene, fat and other nutrients. In addition, guava contains fructose, sucrose, amino acids and other nutrients.