rare plants - fragrant flowers - exotic fruit
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Guava, guyava, kuawa.
Guava, Goiaba, Guayaba, Djamboe, Djambu, Goavier, Gouyave, Goyave, Goyavier, Perala, Bayawas, Dipajaya Jambu, Petokal, Tokal
The place of origin of the guava is uncertain, but it is believed to be an area extending from southern Mexico into or through Central America. It is believed that Guava may have been domesticated in Peru several thousand years ago where Peruvian archaeological sites have been uncovered with guava seeds found stored with beans, corn, squash and other cultivated plants. It has been spread by man, birds and other animals to all warm areas of tropical America and in the West Indies (since 1526). Centuries ago, European adventurers, traders and missionaries in the Amazon Basin took the much enjoyed and tasty fruits to Africa, Asia, India and the Pacific topical regions where it is now cultivated throughout the tropical regions of the world.
Guava has spread widely throughout the tropics with moderate to heavy rainfall because it thrives on a variety of soils, propagates easily and bears fruit relatively quickly. The fruits contain numerous seeds that can produce a mature fruit-bearing plant within four years. In the Amazon rainforest, the seeds of guava fruits are much enjoyed by birds and monkeys, which disperse guava seeds in their droppings and causing spontaneous clumps of guava trees growing through the Amazon Rainforest.
Temperature Zone 9b-11. Needs some frost protection, foliage damaged at 28° F (-2° C), serious damage or death at 26° F (-3° C). The tree will recover from a brief exposure to 29° F but may be completely defoliated. Young trees are particularly sensitive to cold spells. Older trees, killed to the ground, have sent up new shoots which fruited 2 years later. Overhead protection and planting on the warm side of a building or structure will often provide suitable frost protection for guavas in cooler areas. A frame over the plant covered with fabric will provide additional protection during freezes, and electric lights can be included for added warmth. Potted plants can be moved to a more protected site if necessary.
Full sun to light shade
A warm, humid condition is most optimum for guavas, although they thrive in both humid and dry climates and can take considerable neglect, withstanding temporary waterlogging and very high temperatures. They have survived dry summers with no water, although they do best with regular deep watering. The ground should be allowed to dry to a depth of several inches before watering again. Although the guava can tolerate low moisture condition, availability of water constantly will promote fast growth and leaf flushes. Lack of moisture will delay bloom and cause the fruit to drop.
The guava will tolerate many soil conditions, but will produce better in rich soils high in organic matter. Loam and alluvial types of soil is most ideal. They also prefer a well-drained soil in the pH range of 5 to 7. The tree will take temporary waterlogging but will not tolerate salty soils.
Guavas are evergreen or semideciduous, shallow-rooted shrubs or small
trees 6 to 25 feet high (1.8 to 7.5 m), with spreading branches. Some
varieties may reach 40 feet (12 m) under favorable conditions. In the
richness of the Amazon, Guava fruits often grow well beyond the size
of tennis balls on well branched trees or shrubs reaching up to 20 meters
Guava leaves leaves are opposite, short-petioled, oval or oblong-elliptic, somewhat irregular in outline, 2 - 6 inches long and 1 - 2 inches wide. The dull-green, stiff but leathery leaves have pronounced veins, and are slightly downy on the underside. Crushed leaves are aromatic.
The flowers are either solitary . The fragrant greenish white to white flowers, 1 inch (2.5 cm) across, bear numerous yellow stamens, borne singly or in clusters of two or three, arising from the leaf axils of younger branches. They are 1 inch wide, with 4 or 5 white petals. These petals are quickly shed, leaving a prominent tuft of perhaps 250 white stamens tipped with pale-yellow anthers. The calyx lobes usually persist until the fruit ripens.
Guavas are primarily self-fruitful, although some strains seem to produce more fruit when cross-pollinated with another variety. Guavas can bloom throughout the year in mild-winter areas, but the heaviest bloom occurs with the onset of warm weather in the spring. The exact time can vary from year to year depending on weather. The chief pollinator of guavas is the honeybee.
In shape, size and other characteristics, the fruits of the numerous
varieties are extremely variable. They may be round, globular, ovoid,
or pear shaped and from 1 to 6 inches in length (3 to 15 cm) and have
4 or 5 protruding floral remnants (sepals) at the apex. In color, the
skin may be greenish white, yellowish, or pink. The flesh may be white,
pink, yellow, or red. The outer layer of flesh is a finely granular
pulp; the inside is softer pulp with many small hard seeds. The sweet,
musky odor is pungent and penetrating. In flavor, varieties range from
sweet to tart, all with the characteristic musky flavor and odor of
the guava more or less pronounced. Fruits also vary in the thickness
of the fleshy mesocarp, which in some varieties is extremely thin. Varieties
differ widely in flavor and seediness, some are seedless. The better
varieties are soft when ripe, creamy in texture with a rind that softens
to be fully edible.
Most varieties bear many seeds embedded in the soft pulp of the center. The seeds are numerous but small and, in good varieties, fully edible. Actual seed counts have ranged from 112 to 535.
The guava may be propagated by cuttings, grafting, air layering, but
is commonly grown from seed. The disadvantage of the latter method is
that seedlings do not always reproduce the characteristics of the parent.
Guava seed remain viable for many months. They often germinate in 2
- 3 weeks but may take as long as 8 weeks. Seedlings bear fruit during
the second year. Since guavas cannot be depended upon to come true from
seed, vegetative propagation is widely practiced. They are not easy
to graft, but satisfactory techniques have been worked out for patch-budding
by the Forkert Method (probably the most reliable method), side-veneer
grafting, approach grafting and marcotting.
Brazilian guava, Guisaro (Psidium guinense Sw.), Cattley Guava, Strawberry Guava (P. cattleianum Sabine), Costa Rican Guava (P. friedrichsthalianum Ndz.), Para Guava (P. acutangulum DC.), Rumberry, Guavaberry (Myrciaria floribunda Berg.).
The tropical guava is best adapted to the warm climate of Florida and Hawaii, although it can be grown in coastal Southern California, and with some protection, selected areas north to Mendocino County. They tend to bear fruit better in areas with a definite winter or cooler season. The adaptability of the guava makes it a serious weed tree in some tropical areas. The smaller guava cultivars can make an excellent container specimen.
Shaping the tree and removing water shoots and suckers are usually all that is necessary. Guavas can take heavy pruning, however, and can be used as informal hedges or screens. Since the fruit is borne on new growth, pruning does not interfere with next years crop. In fact, guava needs constant training and pruning both to provide the desired tree shape for ease of management and for the health of the tree and to maximise fruit production. The tree is usually trained 3 to 4 months after field planting. The open heart, open center, or cup-shaped pruning and training system is the best.
Guavas are fast growers and heavy feeders, and benefit from regular applications of fertilizer. Mature trees may require as much as 1/2 pound actual nitrogen per year. Apply fertilizer monthly, just prior to heavy pruning. For the first two years a composition of N:P:K in the ratio of 15:15:15 is recommended and from the third year onwards a composition of N:P:K:Mg in the ratio of 12:12:17:2+TE.
The trees are circle-weeded every three months during the first three years. This can be done manually, by motorised grass cutter or herbicide.
Pests and diseases
A number of pests attack the guava such as the fruit fly, thrips, mealy
bugs, scale insects, spider mites, aphids etc. Fruit flies are most
important group of pests which attack guava. They are attracted to the
maturing fruit where they deposit their eggs. The eggs hatch and develop
within the fruit, causing a break down of the fruit tissue. Control
measures are field hygiene, bagging, use of poisoned baits and appplication
of insecticides such as lebaycid.
Harvesting and commercial potential
Guava fruit today is considered minor in terms of world trade but is
nevertheless widely grown in the tropics, enriching the diet of hundreds
of millions of people in the tropics of the world. Guavas are the only
commercially significant myrtaceous fruit. It is an important fruit
in many parts of the world suitable for its production. Guava is one
of the leading fruits of Mexico. Commercial producation of guava in
Hawaii and Florida is hampered by the presence of fruit flies. California
is too cool except for a few selected sites.
The yield may start at 10 tonnes per hectare in the third year of production
and increase to 30 tonnes per hectare after the tenth year.
Antimicrobial, Astringent, Bactericide, Cicatrizant, Emmenagogue, Hypoglycemic, Laxative, Nutritive, Spasmolytic
Sugars: Carbohydrates are the principal nonaqueous constituents
of guava totalling about 14.8 g/ 100 g of fruit pulp. Of this nearly
6 g is made up of fructose (58.9%), glucose (35.7) and sucrose( 5.3%).
Called guayaba in Spanish-speaking countries and goiaba in Brazil,
guava is a common shade-tree or shrub in dooryard gardens providing
shade while the guava fruits are eaten fresh and made into drinks, ice
cream and preserves.
Beaumont: Selected from a seedling population derived from fruits
found in Halemanu, Oahu, Hawaii. Medium to large, roundish fruits weighing
up to 8 ounces. Flesh pink, mildly acid, seedy. Excellent for processing.
Somewhat susceptible to fruit rots. Tree vigorous, wide spreading, very
GU8 Kampuchea: This variety produces big fruits of between 450
to 750gm per fruit. The fruit is oval in shape and is light green bordering
on yellow. The flesh is white, fairly thick and crisp. It tastes sourish
sweet and has a lot of seeds.
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