Cattley guava, as named in honour of notable English horticulturist
Sir William Cattley, or Peruvian guava (Psidium littorale; the old
name P. cattleianum is still used very often) is a small tree (tt
tall), bearing small red or yellow fruit, which are somewhat sour
but sometimes eaten or made into jam. The red-fruited strawberry
guava is Psidium littorale var. cattleianum. The yellow-fruited
Psidium littorale var. littorale is known as lemon guava, and in
Hawaii as waiawī. Native to Brazil and adjacent tropical South
America, it is closely related to common guava (P. guajava), and
like that species is a widespread, highly invasive species in
tropical areas, especially Hawaiʻi. It tends to form dense,
monotypic stands which prevent regrowth of native species, and is
very difficult to eradicate. As an invasive species, it is sometimes
erroneously called "Chinese guava".
The fruit can be eaten by cutting them in half and scooping out
the pulp and seeds or by biting off a piece of the rind and sucking
out the insides. Strawberry guavas taste like a passionfruit mixed
with strawberry; lemon guavas have a more acidic and spicier flavor.
The seeds are small and white in colour and can be roasted as a
substitute for coffee. Its leaves may be brewed for tea. The skin is
also edible and tastes a bit like rose petals but is best removed
for a sweeter flavour.
Yellow guava, similar to the strawberry guava except fruits are
often slightly larger (1-2"). Flesh is yellow, very fragrant, with
the suggestion of a lemon-guava like flavor.
Description: Small bush or tree to 20-25ft, although often much
smaller. The frilly white flowers are often borne a couple of times
a year, concentrated during warmer months.
Hardiness: Lemon guava's are hardy to 22F when full grown.
Growing Environment: The lemon guava is very adaptable and can be
grown outdoors throughout much of Florida and California. It will
fruit in a container almost anywhere if protected from hard freezes.
Trees grow well in full sun and with ample water, although short
periods of drought will not harm the plant. Lots of water is needed
during fruit development and for proper ripening to occur. See also:
strawberry guava (Psidium cattlenium)
Propagation: Usually by seed, sometimes by cuttings.
Uses: Usually eaten fresh or used to flavor beverages, ice
creams, and desserts.
Native Range: Native to coastal areas of Eastern Brazil. The
strawberry guava is now a weed in many parts of the tropics where it
has quickly adapted to a variety of climates. There are major
infestations on Hawaii and many Caribbean islands. In tropical
climates, the strawberry guava is most often found growing at higher
elevations, where the mean temperature is much cooler.