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Datasheet

Psidium guajava (guava)

Summary

  • Last modified
  • 29 March 2018
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Pest
  • Host Plant
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Psidium guajava
  • Preferred Common Name
  • guava
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Plantae
  •     Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •       Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •         Class: Dicotyledonae
  • Summary of Invasiveness
  • P. guajava is a fast growing tropical and subtropical species adapted to a wide range of environmental conditions. It is tolerant of shade, a precocious and prolific reproducer with seed dispersal aided by avia...

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Pictures

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PictureTitleCaptionCopyright
P. guajava: 1, flowering branch; 2, fruiting branch.

Reproduced from the series 'Plant Resources of South-East Asia', by kind permission of the PROSEA Foundation, Bogor, Indonesia.
TitleLine drawing of plant
CaptionP. guajava: 1, flowering branch; 2, fruiting branch. Reproduced from the series 'Plant Resources of South-East Asia', by kind permission of the PROSEA Foundation, Bogor, Indonesia.
CopyrightPROSEA Foundation
P. guajava: 1, flowering branch; 2, fruiting branch.

Reproduced from the series 'Plant Resources of South-East Asia', by kind permission of the PROSEA Foundation, Bogor, Indonesia.
Line drawing of plantP. guajava: 1, flowering branch; 2, fruiting branch. Reproduced from the series 'Plant Resources of South-East Asia', by kind permission of the PROSEA Foundation, Bogor, Indonesia. PROSEA Foundation
Psidium guajava; foliage and flowers.
TitleFoliage
CaptionPsidium guajava; foliage and flowers.
Copyright©A.R. Pittaway
Psidium guajava; foliage and flowers.
FoliagePsidium guajava; foliage and flowers.©A.R. Pittaway
Psidium guajava; close-up of flowers.
TitleFlowers
CaptionPsidium guajava; close-up of flowers.
Copyright©A.R. Pittaway
Psidium guajava; close-up of flowers.
FlowersPsidium guajava; close-up of flowers.©A.R. Pittaway
TitleTree habit
Caption
Copyright©K.M. Siddiqui
Tree habit©K.M. Siddiqui
TitleFoliage
Caption
Copyright©K.M. Siddiqui
Foliage©K.M. Siddiqui

Identity

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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Psidium guajava L., 1753

Preferred Common Name

  • guava

Other Scientific Names

  • Guaiava pyriformis Gaertn.
  • Guajava pumila (Vahl) Kuntze
  • Guajava pyrifera (L.) Kuntze
  • Myrtus guajava (L.) Kuntze
  • Myrtus guajava var. pyrifera (L.) Kuntze
  • Psidium angustifolium Lam.
  • Psidium aromaticum Blanco
  • Psidium cujavillus Burm. f.
  • Psidium cujavus L.
  • Psidium fragrans Macfad.
  • Psidium guajava var. cujavillum (Burm.f.) Krug & Urb.
  • Psidium guajava var. minor Mattos
  • Psidium igatemyense Barb. Rodr.
  • Psidium intermedium Zipp. ex Blume
  • Psidium pomiferum L.
  • Psidium pomiferum var. sapidissimum (Jacq.) DC.
  • Psidium prostratum O. Berg
  • Psidium pumilum Vahl
  • Psidium pumilum var. guadalupense DC.
  • Psidium pyriferum L.
  • Psidium pyriferum var. glabrum Benth.
  • Psidium sapidissimum Jacq.
  • Psidium vulgare Rich.
  • Syzygium ellipticum K. Schum. & Lauterb.

International Common Names

  • English: apple guava; Brazilian guava; common guava; Guinea guava; lemon guava; pear guava; tropical guava; yellow guava
  • Spanish: guayaba; guayaba agria; guayaba blanca; guayaba cimarrona; guayaba del Perú; guayaba dulce; guayabero; guayabita; guayabita del Perú; guayabo; guyava
  • French: gouyave; goyave; goyavier; goyovier commun
  • Arabic: guwâfah
  • Chinese: fan shi liu
  • Portuguese: goiaba; goiabero; guiaiva

Local Common Names

  • Brazil: araca; araçá-goiaba; araçá-guaçú; araçá-guaiava; araçá-guiaba; araçá-uaçú; goabeira; goiaba; goiaba-branca; goiaba-pêra; goiaba-vermelha; goiabeira-branca; goibaçu; guaiaba; guava; guiava; puruí
  • Brunei Darussalam: biyabas; jambu batu
  • Cambodia: trapaek sruk
  • Cuba: guayaba cotorrera; guayabo; guayabo agrio; guayabo cotorrero; guayabo del Perú
  • Dominican Republic: guayaba injerta; guayabo
  • Germany: Guavenbaum
  • Guam: abas
  • Haiti: goavier
  • India: amarood; ettajama; jamba; jamphal; jamrukh; mansala; piyara; sapari; tupkel
  • Indonesia: jambu biji
  • Indonesia/Java: jambu klutuk
  • Italy: guaia giallo; pero del India
  • Kenya: pera
  • Laos: si da
  • Lesser Antilles: gwiyav; kwiyabu; white guava
  • Malaysia: jambu berase; jambu biji; jambu kampuchia
  • Mexico: enandi; guayaba perulera; pichi; posh
  • Myanmar: malakapen
  • Netherlands: guavaboom
  • Philippines: bayabas; guyabas
  • Saint Lucia: gwiyav
  • Tanzania: pera
  • Thailand: farang; ma-kuai; ma-man
  • USA/Hawaii: kuawa
  • Vietnam: oi

EPPO code

  • PSIGU (Psidium guajava)

Summary of Invasiveness

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P. guajava is a fast growing tropical and subtropical species adapted to a wide range of environmental conditions. It is tolerant of shade, a precocious and prolific reproducer with seed dispersal aided by avian and mammalian vectors. It can form dense thickets which displace native vegetation and is reported as an invasive weed in many countries. The balance between its valuable fruit production and its invasive potential requires careful monitoring.

Taxonomic Tree

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  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Plantae
  •         Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •             Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •                 Class: Dicotyledonae
  •                     Order: Myrtales
  •                         Family: Myrtaceae
  •                             Genus: Psidium
  •                                 Species: Psidium guajava

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

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The genus Psidium is composed of approximately 150 species of evergreen trees and shrubs in the American tropics. A good taxonomic classification of this genus is lacking. Psidium guajava is by far the most widely known and distributed (Paull and Duarte, 2012).

Psidium, except for P. guajava, is represented by di-, tetra-, hexa- and octoploid species (2n = 22) (Hirano and Nakasone, 1969). Psidium cujavillus, P. guineense and P. friedrichsthalianum from El Salvador are tetraploids (2n = 24), while the latter species from Costa Rica is a hexaploid (2n = 66). Vegetatively, plants of the two separate accessions show no visible differences (Janick and Paull, 2008).

Description

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Shallow-rooted shrub or small tree, up to 10 m tall, branching from the base and often producing suckers. Bark smooth, green to red-brown, peeling off in thin flakes. Young twigs four-angled and ridged, pubescent. Leaves opposite, with translucid punstations; petiole 3-10 mm long; blade elliptic to oblong, 5-15 x 3-7 cm, glabrous above, finely pubescent beneath, veins prominent below. Flowers solitary or in two- to three-flowered axillary cymes, about 3 cm in diameter; four to six calyx lobes, 1-1.5 cm long, irregular; petals four to five, white, 1-2 cm long; stamens numerous, 1-2 cm long; ovary 4-5-locular; style 1.5-2 cm long, stigma capitate. Fruit a berry, globose, ovoid or pyriform, 4-12 cm long, surmounted by the persistent calyx lobes; exocarp green to yellow; mesocarp fleshy, white, yellow, pink or red, sour to sweet and aromatic. Seeds numerous, yellowish, bony, reniform, 3-5 mm long, embedded in a pink or white pulp.

Plant Type

Top of page Broadleaved
Perennial
Seed propagated
Shrub
Tree
Woody

Distribution

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The native distribution range of P. guajava is uncertain. Many botanists consider the species to be native to tropical America, probably from southern Mexico to South America, but its distribution has been greatly extended through cultivation and it is now widespread throughout the tropics and subtropics. Currently, this species is naturalized in the Old World tropics and in the West Indies (Cronk and Fuller, 1995). Some authors consider P. guajava native to Asia, perhaps due to the fact that Linnaeus in 1753 described this species based on Old World collections. However, P. guajava was reported under the name guayabo by Fernandez de Oviedo in 1535 as being widely distributed in the West Indies, both cultivated and in the wild. This is only a few decades after the discovery of the New World and therefore very unlikely that the species was introduced and was able to spread across the West Indies in such a short period of time. The species was presumably introduced into the West Indies by ancient human migration from northern South America.

Distribution Table

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The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.

Continent/Country/RegionDistributionLast ReportedOriginFirst ReportedInvasivePlantedReferenceNotes

Asia

BangladeshPresentIntroduced Planted World Agroforestry Centre, 2002; FAO, 2013
Brunei DarussalamPresentIntroduced Planted World Agroforestry Centre, 2002
CambodiaPresentIntroduced Planted World Agroforestry Centre, 2002; FAO, 2013
Chagos ArchipelagoPresentIntroducedPIER, 2012
ChinaPresentIntroduced Planted World Agroforestry Centre, 2002; FAO, 2013
-GuangdongPresentIntroducedFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2012
-GuangxiPresentIntroducedFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2012
-GuizhouPresentIntroducedFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2012
-HainanPresentIntroducedFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2012
-Hong KongPresentIntroduced Invasive Flora of China Editorial Committee, 2012
-SichuanPresentIntroducedFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2012
-YunnanPresentIntroducedFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2012
Christmas Island (Indian Ocean)PresentIntroduced Invasive PIER, 2012
Cocos IslandsPresentIntroducedPIER, 2012
IndiaPresentIntroduced Planted World Agroforestry Centre, 2002; FAO, 2013
-AssamPresentIntroducedGovaerts, 2013
IndonesiaPresentIntroduced Planted World Agroforestry Centre, 2002; FAO, 2013
-KalimantanPresentIntroducedGovaerts, 2013
-SulawesiPresentIntroducedGovaerts, 2013
IsraelPresentIntroduced Planted World Agroforestry Centre, 2002; FAO, 2013
JapanPresentIntroducedFAO, 2013; Govaerts, 2013
LaosPresentIntroduced Planted World Agroforestry Centre, 2002
MalaysiaPresentIntroduced Planted World Agroforestry Centre, 2002; FAO, 2013
-Peninsular MalaysiaPresentIntroducedGovaerts, 2013
MaldivesPresentIntroducedPIER, 2012; FAO, 2013
MyanmarPresentIntroduced Planted World Agroforestry Centre, 2002
PhilippinesPresentIntroduced Invasive PIER, 2012; FAO, 2013
SingaporePresentIntroduced Invasive PIER, 2012
South East AsiaPresent Planted
Sri LankaPresentIntroduced Planted World Agroforestry Centre, 2002; FAO, 2013
TaiwanPresentIntroducedFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2012
ThailandPresentIntroduced Planted World Agroforestry Centre, 2002; FAO, 2013
VietnamPresentIntroduced Planted World Agroforestry Centre, 2002; FAO, 2013

Africa

AngolaPresentIntroducedGovaerts, 2013
BotswanaPresentIntroduced Planted Buss, 2002
Burkina FasoPresentIntroducedFAO, 2013; Govaerts, 2013
CameroonPresentIntroduced Planted World Agroforestry Centre, 2002; FAO, 2013
Cape VerdePresentIntroduced Not invasive Planted Weber, 2003; FAO, 2013
Central African RepublicPresentIntroducedFAO, 2013; Govaerts, 2013
ComorosPresentIntroduced Invasive PIER, 2012
Congo Democratic RepublicPresentIntroducedGovaerts, 2013
Côte d'IvoirePresentIntroduced Planted World Agroforestry Centre, 2002; FAO, 2013
EritreaPresentIntroduced Planted World Agroforestry Centre, 2002
EthiopiaPresentIntroduced Planted World Agroforestry Centre, 2002; FAO, 2013
GabonPresentIntroduced Planted World Agroforestry Centre, 2002
GambiaPresentIntroduced Planted World Agroforestry Centre, 2002; FAO, 2013
GuineaPresentIntroducedFAO, 2013; Govaerts, 2013
Guinea-BissauPresentIntroducedFAO, 2013; Govaerts, 2013
KenyaPresentIntroduced Invasive Planted World Agroforestry Centre, 2002; FAO, 2013
MadagascarPresentIntroducedMadagascar Catalogue, 2012; FAO, 2013Naturalized
MalawiPresentIntroduced Planted World Agroforestry Centre, 2002; FAO, 2013
MauritaniaPresentIntroducedGovaerts, 2013
MayottePresentIntroduced Invasive PIER, 2012
MozambiquePresentIntroducedFAO, 2013; Govaerts, 2013
NamibiaPresentIntroducedFAO, 2013; Govaerts, 2013
NigeriaPresentIntroduced Planted World Agroforestry Centre, 2002; FAO, 2013
RéunionPresentIntroduced Invasive PIER, 2012; FAO, 2013
SenegalPresentIntroduced Planted World Agroforestry Centre, 2002; FAO, 2013
SeychellesPresentIntroducedPIER, 2012; FAO, 2013
South AfricaPresentIntroduced Invasive Planted World Agroforestry Centre, 2002; FAO, 2013
Southern AfricaPresent Planted
Spain
-Canary IslandsPresentIntroducedDAISIE, 2013Planted
SudanPresentIntroduced Planted World Agroforestry Centre, 2002
TanzaniaPresentIntroduced Planted World Agroforestry Centre, 2002
TogoPresentIntroduced Planted World Agroforestry Centre, 2002
UgandaPresentIntroducedSheil, 1994; World Agroforestry Centre, 2002
ZambiaPresentIntroducedGovaerts, 2013
ZimbabwePresentIntroduced Planted Cronk & Fuller, 1995; FAO, 2013

North America

BermudaPresentIntroduced Invasive Govaerts, 2013
MexicoPresentNativePlanted, NaturalWorld Agroforestry Centre, 2002; FAO, 2013
USAPresentIntroduced Planted World Agroforestry Centre, 2002; FAO, 2013
-CaliforniaPresentIntroduced Planted
-FloridaPresentIntroduced1847 Invasive Miller et al., 2002; Luken and Thieret, 1997; USDA-NRCS, 2002
-HawaiiPresentIntroducedearly 1800s Invasive Cronk & Fuller, 1995; Luken and Thieret, 1997; USDA-NRCS, 2002
-LouisianaPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2013

Central America and Caribbean

AnguillaPresentIntroducedBefore 1535Broome et al., 2007; USDA-ARS, 2012Cultivated and naturalized
Antigua and BarbudaPresentIntroducedBefore 1535Broome et al., 2007; USDA-ARS, 2012; FAO, 2013Cultivated and naturalized
ArubaPresentIntroducedBefore 1535Boldingh, 1914Cultivated
BahamasPresentIntroduced Invasive Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry, 2002; Acevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012; USDA-ARS, 2012
BarbadosPresentIntroducedBefore 1535Broome et al., 2007; USDA-ARS, 2012Cultivated and naturalized
BelizePresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2012; FAO, 2013; Govaerts, 2013
British Virgin IslandsPresentIntroducedBefore 1535Acevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012Cultivated and naturalized on Guana, Tortola, and Virgin Gorda
Cayman IslandsPresentIntroduced Invasive FAO, 2013; Govaerts, 2013
Costa RicaPresentIntroduced Invasive World Agroforestry Centre, 2002; USDA-ARS, 2012; FAO, 2013Weed in pastures
CubaPresentIntroducedBefore 1535 Invasive World Agroforestry Centre, 2002; Acevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012; USDA-ARS, 2012; FAO, 2013Cultivated and naturalized
CuraçaoPresentIntroducedBefore 1535Boldingh, 1914Cultivated
DominicaIntroducedBefore 1535Broome et al., 2007; USDA-ARS, 2012; FAO, 2013Cultivated and naturalized
Dominican RepublicPresentIntroducedBefore 1535 Invasive World Agroforestry Centre, 2002; Acevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012; USDA-ARS, 2012; FAO, 2013Cultivated and naturalized
El SalvadorPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2012; FAO, 2013; Govaerts, 2013
GrenadaPresentIntroducedBefore 1535Broome et al., 2007; USDA-ARS, 2012; FAO, 2013Cultivated and naturalized
GuadeloupePresentIntroducedBefore 1535Broome et al., 2007; USDA-ARS, 2012; FAO, 2013Cultivated and naturalized
GuatemalaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2012; FAO, 2013; Govaerts, 2013
HaitiPresentIntroducedBefore 1535Acevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012; USDA-ARS, 2012; FAO, 2013Cultivated and naturalized
HondurasPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2012; FAO, 2013; Govaerts, 2013
JamaicaPresentIntroducedBefore 1535Acevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012; USDA-ARS, 2012; FAO, 2013
MartiniquePresentIntroducedBefore 1535Broome et al., 2007; USDA-ARS, 2012; FAO, 2013Cultivated and naturalized
MontserratPresentIntroducedBefore 1535Broome et al., 2007; USDA-ARS, 2012; FAO, 2013Cultivated and naturalized
Netherlands AntillesPresentIntroducedBefore 1535Broome et al., 2007; USDA-ARS, 2012Cultivated and naturalized
NicaraguaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2012; Govaerts, 2013
PanamaPresentNativeWorld Agroforestry Centre, 2002; USDA-ARS, 2012; FAO, 2013
Puerto RicoPresentIntroducedBefore 1535 Invasive USDA-NRCS, 2002; Acevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012; USDA-ARS, 2012; FAO, 2013Cultivated and naturalized. Also on Mona Island, Vieques, and Culebra
Saint Kitts and NevisPresentIntroducedBefore 1535Broome et al., 2007; USDA-ARS, 2012Cultivated and naturalized
Saint LuciaPresentIntroducedBefore 1535Broome et al., 2007; USDA-ARS, 2012; FAO, 2013Cultivated and naturalized
Saint Vincent and the GrenadinesPresentIntroducedBefore 1535Broome et al., 2007; USDA-ARS, 2012; FAO, 2013Cultivated and naturalized
Trinidad and TobagoPresentIntroducedBefore 1535USDA-ARS, 2012; FAO, 2013; Govaerts, 2013
United States Virgin IslandsPresentIntroducedBefore 1535 Invasive USDA-NRCS, 2002; Acevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012Cultivated and naturalized on St Croix, St John and St Thomas

South America

ArgentinaPresentIntroduced Invasive USDA-ARS, 2012; FAO, 2013; I3N-Argentina, 2013
BoliviaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2012; Govaerts, 2013
BrazilPresentIntroduced Invasive Planted Ziller and Rosa, 2001; USDA-ARS, 2012; FAO, 2013
-AcrePresentIntroduced Invasive Forzza et al., 2012
-AlagoasPresentIntroducedForzza et al., 2012
-AmazonasPresentIntroducedForzza et al., 2012
-BahiaPresentIntroducedForzza et al., 2012
-CearaPresentIntroducedForzza et al., 2012
-Espirito SantoPresentIntroduced Invasive Forzza et al., 2012
-MaranhaoPresentIntroducedForzza et al., 2012
-Mato GrossoPresentIntroducedForzza et al., 2012
-Mato Grosso do SulPresentIntroduced Invasive Forzza et al., 2012
-Minas GeraisPresentIntroduced Invasive Forzza et al., 2012
-ParaibaPresentIntroduced Invasive I3N-Brasil, 2013
-ParanaPresentIntroduced Invasive Forzza et al., 2012
-PernambucoPresentIntroduced Invasive Forzza et al., 2012
-PiauiPresentIntroducedForzza et al., 2012
-Rio de JaneiroPresentIntroduced Invasive Forzza et al., 2012
-Rio Grande do SulPresentIntroducedForzza et al., 2012
-Santa CatarinaPresentIntroduced Invasive Forzza et al., 2012
-Sao PauloPresentIntroduced Invasive Forzza et al., 2012
-SergipePresentIntroducedForzza et al., 2012
-TocantinsPresentIntroduced Invasive I3N-Brasil, 2013
ChilePresentPresent based on regional distribution.
-Easter IslandPresentIntroduced Invasive PIER, 2012
ColombiaPresentNativePlanted, NaturalWorld Agroforestry Centre, 2002; FAO, 2013
EcuadorPresentNativeWorld Agroforestry Centre, 2002; USDA-ARS, 2012; FAO, 2013
-Galapagos IslandsPresentIntroduced Invasive Cronk & Fuller, 1995; Mauchamp, 1997
French GuianaPresentIntroducedFunk et al., 2007; USDA-ARS, 2012; FAO, 2013Cultivated and naturalized
GuyanaPresentIntroducedWorld Agroforestry Centre, 2002; Funk et al., 2007; USDA-ARS, 2012; FAO, 2013Cultivated and naturalized
ParaguayPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2012; FAO, 2013; Govaerts, 2013
PeruPresentNativeWorld Agroforestry Centre, 2002; USDA-ARS, 2012; FAO, 2013
SurinamePresentIntroducedFunk et al., 2007; USDA-ARS, 2012; FAO, 2013Cultivated and naturalized
VenezuelaPresentNativeWorld Agroforestry Centre, 2002; USDA-ARS, 2012

Europe

GreecePresentIntroduced Planted World Agroforestry Centre, 2002
PortugalPresentPresent based on regional distribution.
-MadeiraPresentIntroducedDAISIE, 2013Planted
SpainPresentIntroducedDAISIE, 2013Planted

Oceania

American SamoaPresentIntroduced Invasive Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry, 2002; PIER, 2012
AustraliaPresentIntroduced Invasive World Agroforestry Centre, 2002; Weber, 2003; FAO, 2013
-Australian Northern TerritoryPresentIntroduced Invasive Weeds of Australia, 2012
-Lord Howe Is.PresentIntroduced Invasive Weeds of Australia, 2012
-New South WalesPresentIntroduced Invasive Weeds of Australia, 2012
-QueenslandPresentIntroduced Invasive Weeds of Australia, 2012
Cook IslandsPresentIntroduced Invasive Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry, 2002; PIER, 2012; FAO, 2013
FijiPresentIntroduced Invasive Planted World Agroforestry Centre, 2002; FAO, 2013
French PolynesiaPresentIntroduced Invasive Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry, 2002; PIER, 2012
-MarquesasPresentIntroduced Invasive Planted Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry, 2002
GuamPresentIntroduced Invasive Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry, 2002; PIER, 2012; FAO, 2013
KiribatiPresentIntroduced Planted Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry, 2002
Marshall IslandsPresentIntroduced Planted Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry, 2002
Micronesia, Federated states ofPresentIntroduced Planted Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry, 2002; FAO, 2013
NauruPresentIntroduced Planted Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry, 2002
New CaledoniaPresentIntroduced Invasive Planted Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry, 2002; FAO, 2013
New ZealandPresentIntroduced Invasive Cronk & Fuller, 1995; Owen, 1996
NiuePresentIntroduced Planted Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry, 2002; PIER, 2012
Norfolk IslandPresentIntroduced Invasive PIER, 2012
Northern Mariana IslandsPresentIntroduced Invasive PIER, 2012
PalauPresentIntroduced Invasive Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry, 2002; PIER, 2012
Papua New GuineaPresentIntroduced Planted Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry, 2002
Pitcairn IslandPresentIntroduced Invasive Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry, 2002; PIER, 2012
SamoaPresentIntroduced Invasive World Agroforestry Centre, 2002; PIER, 2012; FAO, 2013
Solomon IslandsPresentIntroduced Invasive Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry, 2002; PIER, 2012
TongaPresentIntroduced Invasive PIER, 2012
TuvaluPresentIntroducedPIER, 2012
VanuatuPresentIntroduced Invasive PIER, 2012
Wallis and Futuna IslandsPresentIntroduced Invasive PIER, 2012; FAO, 2013

History of Introduction and Spread

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The Spanish took P. guajava east across the Pacific and the Portuguese took it west to Africa and India. At present it is well distributed and naturalized throughout the tropics and subtropics. Due to its ease of culture, the high nutritional value of the fruit and the popularity of the processed products, guava is important in international trade as well as in the local markets of over 60 tropical and subtropical countries. The largest producers are countries in Central and South America (Brazil, Mexico), India and Thailand (100,000 t in 1981/82), and production is increasing in the Caribbean, Hawaii, Florida (USA) and South Africa. Several authors regard P. guajava as a highly invasive species (Cronk and Fuller, 1995; Binggeli, 1999). In New Zealand it is regarded as a potential problem weed species (Owen, 1996). It was one of the first introduced species on the Galapagos islands to be recognized for its invasive behaviour (Mauchamp, 1997). It is only present on the inhabited islands and is one of a number of species that are causing serious environmental damage (Mauchamp, 1997).

In some Pacific Islands, as well as in Central American countries such as Costa Rica, P. guajava is an important weed in pastures, where it is difficult to eradicate and leads to land degradation (Somarriba, 1995). On the Pacific island of Chuuk, Space et al. (2000) list it among species that are known to be invasive elsewhere and are cultivated, common or weedy on the island. It is widely distributed on all the main Hawaiian islands, on a wide range of soil conditions, and can form dense thickets there (Smith, 1998). It is also a weed in agricultural habitats in Puerto Rico (Federal Highway Administration, 2001) and considered invasive on Bermuda. In Florida it had naturalized by 1765 (Langeland and Burks, 1998). Sheil (1994) noted that it was regenerating in disturbed areas of the Budongo forest in Uganda. Ziller and Rosa (2001) also report invasive behaviour in Brazil. Indeed, many authors link its spread to disturbance events, for example in open glades created by storms or logging activities. 

In the West Indies, P. guajava was probably introduced by aborigines before the arrival of Christopher Columbus. By 1535, Gonzalo Fernández de Oviedo, one of the first writers to chronicle the Spanish colonization of the Caribbean region, described this species as “very common everywhere in the West Indies”. This author also mentioned that native people in the West Indies cultivated and consumed the fruits of this species (Fernández de Oviedo, 1535).

 

Risk of Introduction

Top of page This species has already been so widely introduced that it is likely to be present in almost all countries capable of growing it. The risk is therefore one of plants already present in cultivation escaping into wild environments. Given that guava production in many countries occurs in smallholdings and gardens this is likely to be difficult to control; monitoring to detect early signs of invasion would therefore be prudent. It is a category 2 invasive plant species on the Bahamas (Anon., 2003) and it appears on the Florida Exotic Pest Plant list of 1999 where it is described as a category 1 invasive that is altering plant communities (Miller et al., 2002). In South Africa it is declared a category 2 invader according to the Conservation of Agricultural Resources Act 1983 (Henderson, 2001).

Habitat

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P. guajava thrives in both humid and dry climates at altitudes of 0-1500 m (or up to 2100 m in some regions). However, the optimum yield occurs in regions with a mean temperature range of 20-30°C, and a uniform annual rainfall of 1000-2000 mm. World Agroforestry Centre (2002) describe its original habitats savannah/shrub ecotones or frequently disturbed land. In its exotic range, P. guajava is an invader of forests and forest edges, pastures and grasslands, and riparian habitats (Cronk and Fuller, 1995; Weber, 2003). In South Africa it also invades savannah and roadside habitats (Henderson, 2001) and in Florida it grows in 'hammocks, pinelands and under cypress' (Langeland and Burks, 1998).

Habitat List

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CategoryHabitatPresenceStatus
Terrestrial-managed
Cultivated / agricultural land Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Disturbed areas Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Disturbed areas Present, no further details Natural
Managed forests, plantations and orchards Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Managed grasslands (grazing systems) Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Rail / roadsides Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Terrestrial-natural/semi-natural
Natural forests Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Natural forests Present, no further details Natural
Riverbanks Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Scrub / shrublands Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Scrub / shrublands Present, no further details Natural

Hosts/Species Affected

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P. guajava is generally an environmental weed though it is known to invade forests, both planted and natural, and managed grasslands, as well as occasionally affecting cultivated land and plantation crops.

Biology and Ecology

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Genetics

Cultivation has resulted in many varieties of this plant (Weber, 2003). In leading guava-producing countries, more or less extensive cultivar collections from all over the world are maintained, such as at the Tropical Fruit Research Station, Alstonville, Australia. Systematic breeding work was first undertaken in Hawaii to obtain better processing cultivars. Current standards for selection of processing cultivars in Hawaii include: fruit diameter at least 7.5 cm, diameter of cavity no more than 3.75 cm, fruit weight 200-300 g, seed content only 1-2%, dark pink colour, soluble solids 9-12%, vitamin C 300 mg per 100 g, flesh with few stone cells and with characteristic guava flavour. Important criteria for breeding programmes in the major fresh-fruit producing countries are yield potential, seedlessness and firm fruit that ripens slowly. Polyploidy is not uncommon in guava; parthenocarpy occurs in some diploid as well as triploid cultivars. The species shows great diversity in tree size, yield and fruit quality. Some wild seedlings produce very small seedy, gritty, musky fruit, whereas selected types can produce large, almost seedless, smooth-textured fruit with pleasant flesh (red or pink) and high flesh recovery. Dessert types have lower acidity and many are white- or yellow-fleshed. Numerous cultivars have been developed, including dual-purpose types, which are a compromise between dessert and processing requirements.

Physiology and Phenology

In good conditions, P. guajava may flower within the first 2 years. The trees reach full bearing after 5-8 years, depending on growing conditions and spacing. It is not a long-lived tree (about 40 years), but the plants may bear heavily for 15-25 years.

Reproductive Biology

Given appropriate conditions, P. guajava is able to reproduce at almost any time of year. The pollen is viable for up to 42 hours and the stigmas are receptive for about 2 days. Bees are the principal pollinators. There is some self- and cross-incompatibility. It has a hermaphrodite breeding system and produces large quantities of seeds that are then dispersed by birds and mammals. Guava seeds retain their viability for approximately 1 year at 8°C and low humidity. Vegetative reproduction from root suckers is common and impedes mechanical methods of control (Cronk and Fuller, 1995).

Environmental Requirements

P. guajava is a hardy tree that adapts to a wide range of growing conditions. In the tropics the tree is found from sea level to an altitude of about 1500 m and can stand temperatures from 15-45°C; the highest yields are recorded at mean temperatures of 23-28°C. In the subtropics, quiescent trees withstand light frosts, and 3.5-6 months of mean temperatures above 16°C (depending on the cultivar) suffice for flowering and fruiting. Guava is more drought-resistant than most tropical fruit crops. For maximum production in the tropics, however, it requires 1000-2000 mm of rain, evenly distributed over the year. If fruit ripens during a very wet period it loses flavour and may split.

Latitude/Altitude Ranges

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Latitude North (°N)Latitude South (°S)Altitude Lower (m)Altitude Upper (m)
25 -24 0 2100

Air Temperature

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Parameter Lower limit Upper limit
Absolute minimum temperature (ºC) -2 7
Mean annual temperature (ºC) 13 26
Mean maximum temperature of hottest month (ºC) 20 32
Mean minimum temperature of coldest month (ºC) 9 23

Rainfall

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ParameterLower limitUpper limitDescription
Dry season duration08number of consecutive months with <40 mm rainfall
Mean annual rainfall6003000mm; lower/upper limits

Rainfall Regime

Top of page Bimodal
Summer
Uniform
Winter

Soil Tolerances

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Soil drainage

  • free

Soil reaction

  • acid
  • alkaline
  • neutral

Soil texture

  • heavy
  • light
  • medium

Special soil tolerances

  • infertile
  • saline

Notes on Natural Enemies

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Trees may wilt following infection by various soil fungi, and root rot caused by Phytophthora spp. is also thought to kill trees. The leaves are little affected by diseases, but anthracnose (Glomerella cingulata), which is more serious on the fruit, also affects the leaves. Blossom-end rot can become a serious disease in the rainy season; there may be physiological as well as pathological causes. Mucor rot, caused by the fungus Mucor hiemalis, spoils fruit punctured by insects. Young fruit are often seen blackened and mummified by G. cingulata or Botryodiplodia theobromae. Fruit canker, circular raised corky spots infected by Pestalotiopsis psidii, is also common. Orchard sanitation, in the form of early removal of infected plant parts, helps to reduce infections. Chemical control may be applied in the rainy season; dithane can be used against blossom-end rot and fruit canker, with additional control of anthracnose. Fruit flies are the most important pest; guava is a major host to species of Anastrepha, Ceratitis, Dacus and Argyresthia. Bagging the fruit is the main control method in continuously cropped orchards; if the crop is cycled, spraying with fenthion or use of bait sprays may provide additional means of control. Sucking insects such as scales, mealy bugs and thrips can largely be checked by predators and control of ants. Leaf-eating caterpillars and beetles may severely damage young trees; early detection greatly facilitates control by spot treatment.

Means of Movement and Dispersal

Top of page Birds and mammals eat the fruit and disperse the seeds (Cronk and Fuller, 1995), for example rats and feral pigs (Space, 2001). According to World Agroforestry Centre (2002) the principal dispersal agents are bats. It is widely planted in gardens and as an agroforestry species and from there is able to escape cultivation and colonize disturbed sites in semi-natural and natural environments. The pantropical distribution of this species is a result of its widespread intentional introduction as a commercial fruit crop.

Impact Summary

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CategoryImpact
Animal/plant collections None
Animal/plant products None
Biodiversity (generally) Negative
Crop production Negative
Environment (generally) Negative
Fisheries / aquaculture None
Forestry production Negative
Human health None
Livestock production Negative
Native fauna None
Native flora Negative
Rare/protected species None
Tourism None
Trade/international relations None
Transport/travel None

Economic Impact

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P. guajava can cause economic impacts through the alteration of pasture habitat and because it is a host to the Caribbean fruit fly Anastrepha suspensa, a pest which can also affect citrus (Langeland and Burks, 1998). However, the economic costs of loss of pasture and costs of control must be weighed against the economic benefits accrued from the sale of fruits and processed products as commercial crops.

Environmental Impact

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This species covers large areas of the Galapagos Islands where it outcompetes native forest species (Cronk and Fuller, 1995). Similarly it is an invader of Acacia forest on Hawaii (Cronk and Fuller, 1995). Henderson (2001) classifies this species as a habitat transformer. Some authors, e.g. Smith (1998), believe it may have allelopathic effects on other plants. It is well known for forming dense thickets that can suppress the growth of native species.

Social Impact

Top of page The social impact may be considered as only positive, due to the financial and nutritional benefits from fruit production, processing and consumption.

Risk and Impact Factors

Top of page Invasiveness
  • Proved invasive outside its native range
  • Highly adaptable to different environments
  • Tolerates, or benefits from, cultivation, browsing pressure, mutilation, fire etc
  • Highly mobile locally
  • Has high reproductive potential
  • Has propagules that can remain viable for more than one year
Impact outcomes
  • Negatively impacts agriculture
  • Reduced native biodiversity
Impact mechanisms
  • Competition - monopolizing resources
  • Pest and disease transmission
Likelihood of entry/control
  • Highly likely to be transported internationally deliberately
  • Difficult/costly to control

Uses

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P. guajava is an ideal home garden fruit tree due to its hardiness, high yield, long supply season and high nutritive value. It is grown in orchards or incorporated into agroforestry systems in India, and is widely planted (or has spread) in Africa. Details of fruit production are given by Verheij and Coronel (1991). The potential for developing guava for a larger and wider commercial market appears to be limited, mainly by its short shelf life and its susceptibility to fruit flies. However, opportunities for expanding the processed fruit market appear to be good, in South-East Asia and in other regions. The fruit is usually eaten raw, both green and ripe (when it becomes fragrant). It is also stewed and used in shortcakes and pies. After removing the seeds, the pulp is made into preserves, jam, jelly, juice and nectar. Well-made guava jelly is deep wine-coloured, clear, of very firm consistency, and retains something of the pungent musky flavour of the fresh fruit. Guava paste (or guava cheese as it is known in the West Indies) is made by evaporating the pulp with sugar; it is eaten as a sweetmeat. The fruit, peeled, halved and cooked in light syrup, is canned and the juice and nectar are also preserved in this way. Guava powder is a good source of vitamin C and pectin. In some Asian countries the leaves are used in cooking, and medicinally against diarrhoea; they can also be used for dyeing and tanning. The wood is moderately strong and durable indoors; it is used for handles and in carpentry and turnery (Verheij and Coronel, 1991), and also for building timbers, woodware and carvings. The flowers provide nectar for bees and contribute to honey production.

Uses List

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Environmental

  • Agroforestry

Human food and beverage

  • Beverage base
  • Fruits
  • Spices and culinary herbs

Materials

  • Carved material
  • Dye/tanning
  • Wood/timber

Medicinal, pharmaceutical

  • Source of medicine/pharmaceutical
  • Traditional/folklore

Wood Products

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Sawn or hewn building timbers

  • Carpentry/joinery (exterior/interior)
  • For light construction

Woodware

  • Industrial and domestic woodware
  • Tool handles
  • Turnery

Prevention and Control

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P. guajava is able to survive some fires through regenerating vegetatively from suckers (Smith, 1998). Such vegetative reproduction from suckers is common and impedes mechanical methods of control (Cronk and Fuller, 1995). Providing all traces of the roots are removed, seedlings and young plants may be removed by pulling or digging (Weber, 2003). Cronk and Fuller (1995) report that the waxy cuticle of leaves offers some protection to the plant, reducing the effectiveness of herbicide application. If trees are felled the stumps should be treated with a herbicide to prevent regeneration through suckering (Weber, 2003). Biological control is problematic for this species because there are direct conflicts of interest with fruit growers (Smith, 1998), and none has been implemented.

Bibliography

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Kavimani S, Karpagam RI, Jaykar B, Ilango Karpagam R, 1997. Anti inflammatory activity of volatile oil of Psidium guajava. Indian Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, 59(3):142-144.

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Wilson CW III, 1980. Guava. In: Nagy S, Shaw PE, eds. Tropical and Sub tropical Fruits. Composition, Properties and Uses. Westport, Connecticut, USA: AVI Publishing Inc., 279-299.

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Julissa Rojas-Sandoval, Department of Botany-Smithsonian NMNH, Washington DC, USA

Pedro Acevedo-Rodríguez, Department of Botany-Smithsonian NMNH, Washington DC, USA

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