Monday, 28 January 2013

Guava (Psidium guajava)

Commonly known as Guava or Apple Guava, it is is native to Southern Mexico through to Central America.

Guava comes from a large shrub or small evergreen tree that is about 3 to 10m tall. It has many spreading branches and crooked stems. The smooth and thin bark is light to reddish brown and flaking, revealing the greenish colour underneath. The dull grey to yellowish-green leaves are simple and opposite, and are aromatic when crushed. The wide, leathery leaves have conspicuous parallel veins. 

The white flowers with 4 to 5 petals are faintly fragrant. They are borne singly or in clusters in the leaf axils. The petals are shed quickly, leaving behind a prominent tuft of around 250 stamens tipped with pale yellow anthers. 

The Guava is an ovoid berry about 5 to 12cm long and weighing up to 500g. It is green and hard when unripe. The skin turns light yellow when ripe, occasionally with a pinkish blush. It has 4 to 5 remnants of the sepals at the apex. The flesh of the guava is somewhat granular, crunchy, and thick. It is pale yellow to creamish in colour. At the centre of the flesh is a seedy pulp that contains numerous small and hard seeds.

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