Sunday, December 9, 2012

Feijoa sellowiana, it loves the Mediterranean

Feijoa sellowiana, Acca sellowiana, Orthostemon sellowianus, these are some of the scientific names of this South American plant whose adaptability, hardiness, beauty and delicious fruits have led to conquer the Mediterranean by the hand of man. It is grown primarily as an ornamental for its spectacular bloom and for its green fruits the size of a hen's egg whose exotic flavor reminiscent of pineapple. Its most widely popular name is Brazilian guava.

Feijoa sellowiana covered with flowers in late May. When the sun rises these striking flowers are an irresistible to bees are the main pollinators in the Mediterranean, but also in its native South America are visited and pollinated by hummingbirds, attracted by the sweet nectar droplets at the base of the stamens.

The flowers are spectacular with numerous stamens arranged in a brush typical of all Myrtaceae. (I recommend enlarge photos with a double click).

The filaments of the stamens are bright red blood and the pollen-laden anthers ends a soft yellowish white. The female pistil is slightly longer and darker than the stamens and it ends with a stigma pointed. The four petals are pink on the top and a bright pure white on the underside. Its revolute edge upward more visible white undersides pink beam. Below the petals are four much smaller sepals reddish-brown on the top and green on the underside.

 Sprouting spring at early April. We can see some emerging floral buds that will open in late May. This shrub is evergreen, although sometimes in the middle of summer it rains almost lost enough leaves. The same is true in winter when it's cold.

Feijoa leaves of gray-green and bright beam by early December. In spring and summer the leaves are darker.

Flowers freshly fertilized initiating growth of the ovaries. It shows the underside of the leaves whitish and the four sepals of the flowers that persist in the end of the fruit when ripe.

Brazilian guava fruit variety "Mammuth" with the remains of the sepals at its end, detail typical of all the fruits of the Myrtaceae.

Feijoa sellowiana fruits of the variety "Triumph", oval and smaller than the previous range.

Brazilian guava fruit of "Triumph" variety cut longitudinally.

The pulp juiciness best seen closely. Some seeds are immersed in the central part of the pulp which looks more hyaline to contain more sugars and water. This juicy pulp surrounding the seeds is a strategy of the plants that rely almost exclusively on birds for seed dispersal. Birds pierce the fruit with their beaks in search of sugar-rich juicy center where the seeds. Once digested pulp, the birds excreted the seeds well scarified by digestive acids away from the mother plant.

Another feijoa pulp cut transversely. Besides being an excellent table fruit, with its pulp rich in vitamin C and antioxidants can prepare juices, jellies, jams, ice cream and cakes.

The four compartments of the ovary of the flower is transformed into this beautiful juicy cross. The seeds are at the ends of the four arms of the cross.

Feijoa sellowiana 15 years old born from seed. It belongs to the variety "Mammuth". To the left is a lucumo of Peru 26 years old and right an avocado fruit laden grafted about 10 years ago.

The Brazilian guava shrub usually have no more than 4 meters high with trunk branched from the base. This fruit grows naturally in the mountains of southern Brazil, northern Argentina, Colombia, Uruguay and eastern Bolivia. It is moderately resistant to cold, but dies struck at temperatures below -12 º C. Not suitable to be grown in hot and dry areas. It lives very comfortable in Mediterranean climate near the sea. In Europe it is cultivated for many years in the south of France.


  1. Nice picture! Thanks.... Keep sharing.

  2. A beautiful and fascinating plant! Thank you for your photos and descriptions. Our winter this year in Texas was the warmest on record, so maybe we'll get to grow them too someday? ¡Ciao!

    1. In the Mediterranean also it makes improper winter warmth.