Guava
Overview
 
Guavas are plant
Plant
Plants are living organisms belonging to the kingdom Plantae. Precise definitions of the kingdom vary, but as the term is used here, plants include familiar organisms such as trees, flowers, herbs, bushes, grasses, vines, ferns, mosses, and green algae. The group is also called green plants or...

s in the myrtle family (Myrtaceae
Myrtaceae
The Myrtaceae or Myrtle family are a family of dicotyledon plants, placed within the order Myrtales. Myrtle, clove, guava, feijoa, allspice, and eucalyptus belong here. All species are woody, with essential oils, and flower parts in multiples of four or five...

) genus
Genus
In biology, a genus is a low-level taxonomic rank used in the biological classification of living and fossil organisms, which is an example of definition by genus and differentia...

 Psidium (meaning "pomegranate
Pomegranate
The pomegranate , Punica granatum, is a fruit-bearing deciduous shrub or small tree growing between five and eight meters tall.Native to the area of modern day Iran, the pomegranate has been cultivated in the Caucasus since ancient times. From there it spread to Asian areas such as the Caucasus as...

" in Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

), which contains about 100 species
Species
In biology, a species is one of the basic units of biological classification and a taxonomic rank. A species is often defined as a group of organisms capable of interbreeding and producing fertile offspring. While in many cases this definition is adequate, more precise or differing measures are...

 of tropical
Tropics
The tropics is a region of the Earth surrounding the Equator. It is limited in latitude by the Tropic of Cancer in the northern hemisphere at approximately  N and the Tropic of Capricorn in the southern hemisphere at  S; these latitudes correspond to the axial tilt of the Earth...

 shrub
Shrub
A shrub or bush is distinguished from a tree by its multiple stems and shorter height, usually under 5–6 m tall. A large number of plants may become either shrubs or trees, depending on the growing conditions they experience...

s and small tree
Tree
A tree is a perennial woody plant. It is most often defined as a woody plant that has many secondary branches supported clear of the ground on a single main stem or trunk with clear apical dominance. A minimum height specification at maturity is cited by some authors, varying from 3 m to...

s. They are native to Mexico
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

, Central America
Central America
Central America is the central geographic region of the Americas. It is the southernmost, isthmian portion of the North American continent, which connects with South America on the southeast. When considered part of the unified continental model, it is considered a subcontinent...

, and northern South America
South America
South America is a continent situated in the Western Hemisphere, mostly in the Southern Hemisphere, with a relatively small portion in the Northern Hemisphere. The continent is also considered a subcontinent of the Americas. It is bordered on the west by the Pacific Ocean and on the north and east...

. Guavas are now cultivated and naturalized
Introduced species
An introduced species — or neozoon, alien, exotic, non-indigenous, or non-native species, or simply an introduction, is a species living outside its indigenous or native distributional range, and has arrived in an ecosystem or plant community by human activity, either deliberate or accidental...

 throughout the tropics
Tropics
The tropics is a region of the Earth surrounding the Equator. It is limited in latitude by the Tropic of Cancer in the northern hemisphere at approximately  N and the Tropic of Capricorn in the southern hemisphere at  S; these latitudes correspond to the axial tilt of the Earth...

 and subtropics
Subtropics
The subtropics are the geographical and climatical zone of the Earth immediately north and south of the tropical zone, which is bounded by the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn, at latitudes 23.5°N and 23.5°S...

 in Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia, South-East Asia, South East Asia or Southeastern Asia is a subregion of Asia, consisting of the countries that are geographically south of China, east of India, west of New Guinea and north of Australia. The region lies on the intersection of geological plates, with heavy seismic...

, Hawaii
Hawaii
Hawaii is the newest of the 50 U.S. states , and is the only U.S. state made up entirely of islands. It is the northernmost island group in Polynesia, occupying most of an archipelago in the central Pacific Ocean, southwest of the continental United States, southeast of Japan, and northeast of...

, the Caribbean
Caribbean
The Caribbean is a crescent-shaped group of islands more than 2,000 miles long separating the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea, to the west and south, from the Atlantic Ocean, to the east and north...

, Florida
Florida
Florida is a state in the southeastern United States, located on the nation's Atlantic and Gulf coasts. It is bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the north by Alabama and Georgia and to the east by the Atlantic Ocean. With a population of 18,801,310 as measured by the 2010 census, it...

 and Africa
Africa
Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...

.
The most frequently encountered species, and the one often simply referred to as "the guava", is the Apple Guava (Psidium guajava
Psidium guajava
The apple guava or common guava is an evergreen shrub or small tree native to Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America...

).

Guavas are typical Myrtoideae, with tough dark leaves
Leaf
A leaf is an organ of a vascular plant, as defined in botanical terms, and in particular in plant morphology. Foliage is a mass noun that refers to leaves as a feature of plants....

 that are opposite, simple, elliptic to ovate and 5–15 cm long.
Encyclopedia
Guavas are plant
Plant
Plants are living organisms belonging to the kingdom Plantae. Precise definitions of the kingdom vary, but as the term is used here, plants include familiar organisms such as trees, flowers, herbs, bushes, grasses, vines, ferns, mosses, and green algae. The group is also called green plants or...

s in the myrtle family (Myrtaceae
Myrtaceae
The Myrtaceae or Myrtle family are a family of dicotyledon plants, placed within the order Myrtales. Myrtle, clove, guava, feijoa, allspice, and eucalyptus belong here. All species are woody, with essential oils, and flower parts in multiples of four or five...

) genus
Genus
In biology, a genus is a low-level taxonomic rank used in the biological classification of living and fossil organisms, which is an example of definition by genus and differentia...

 Psidium (meaning "pomegranate
Pomegranate
The pomegranate , Punica granatum, is a fruit-bearing deciduous shrub or small tree growing between five and eight meters tall.Native to the area of modern day Iran, the pomegranate has been cultivated in the Caucasus since ancient times. From there it spread to Asian areas such as the Caucasus as...

" in Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

), which contains about 100 species
Species
In biology, a species is one of the basic units of biological classification and a taxonomic rank. A species is often defined as a group of organisms capable of interbreeding and producing fertile offspring. While in many cases this definition is adequate, more precise or differing measures are...

 of tropical
Tropics
The tropics is a region of the Earth surrounding the Equator. It is limited in latitude by the Tropic of Cancer in the northern hemisphere at approximately  N and the Tropic of Capricorn in the southern hemisphere at  S; these latitudes correspond to the axial tilt of the Earth...

 shrub
Shrub
A shrub or bush is distinguished from a tree by its multiple stems and shorter height, usually under 5–6 m tall. A large number of plants may become either shrubs or trees, depending on the growing conditions they experience...

s and small tree
Tree
A tree is a perennial woody plant. It is most often defined as a woody plant that has many secondary branches supported clear of the ground on a single main stem or trunk with clear apical dominance. A minimum height specification at maturity is cited by some authors, varying from 3 m to...

s. They are native to Mexico
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

, Central America
Central America
Central America is the central geographic region of the Americas. It is the southernmost, isthmian portion of the North American continent, which connects with South America on the southeast. When considered part of the unified continental model, it is considered a subcontinent...

, and northern South America
South America
South America is a continent situated in the Western Hemisphere, mostly in the Southern Hemisphere, with a relatively small portion in the Northern Hemisphere. The continent is also considered a subcontinent of the Americas. It is bordered on the west by the Pacific Ocean and on the north and east...

. Guavas are now cultivated and naturalized
Introduced species
An introduced species — or neozoon, alien, exotic, non-indigenous, or non-native species, or simply an introduction, is a species living outside its indigenous or native distributional range, and has arrived in an ecosystem or plant community by human activity, either deliberate or accidental...

 throughout the tropics
Tropics
The tropics is a region of the Earth surrounding the Equator. It is limited in latitude by the Tropic of Cancer in the northern hemisphere at approximately  N and the Tropic of Capricorn in the southern hemisphere at  S; these latitudes correspond to the axial tilt of the Earth...

 and subtropics
Subtropics
The subtropics are the geographical and climatical zone of the Earth immediately north and south of the tropical zone, which is bounded by the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn, at latitudes 23.5°N and 23.5°S...

 in Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia, South-East Asia, South East Asia or Southeastern Asia is a subregion of Asia, consisting of the countries that are geographically south of China, east of India, west of New Guinea and north of Australia. The region lies on the intersection of geological plates, with heavy seismic...

, Hawaii
Hawaii
Hawaii is the newest of the 50 U.S. states , and is the only U.S. state made up entirely of islands. It is the northernmost island group in Polynesia, occupying most of an archipelago in the central Pacific Ocean, southwest of the continental United States, southeast of Japan, and northeast of...

, the Caribbean
Caribbean
The Caribbean is a crescent-shaped group of islands more than 2,000 miles long separating the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea, to the west and south, from the Atlantic Ocean, to the east and north...

, Florida
Florida
Florida is a state in the southeastern United States, located on the nation's Atlantic and Gulf coasts. It is bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the north by Alabama and Georgia and to the east by the Atlantic Ocean. With a population of 18,801,310 as measured by the 2010 census, it...

 and Africa
Africa
Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...

.

Types

The most frequently encountered species, and the one often simply referred to as "the guava", is the Apple Guava (Psidium guajava
Psidium guajava
The apple guava or common guava is an evergreen shrub or small tree native to Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America...

).

Guavas are typical Myrtoideae, with tough dark leaves
Leaf
A leaf is an organ of a vascular plant, as defined in botanical terms, and in particular in plant morphology. Foliage is a mass noun that refers to leaves as a feature of plants....

 that are opposite, simple, elliptic to ovate and 5–15 cm long. The flower
Flower
A flower, sometimes known as a bloom or blossom, is the reproductive structure found in flowering plants . The biological function of a flower is to effect reproduction, usually by providing a mechanism for the union of sperm with eggs...

s are white, with five petals and numerous stamen
Stamen
The stamen is the pollen producing reproductive organ of a flower...

s.

The genera Accara
Accara
Accara elegans is the sole species of the monotypic genus Accara in the botanical family Myrtaceae. It is a shrub native to Brazil, reaching 1-2m in height....

and Feijoa
Feijoa
Acca sellowiana, a species of flowering plant in the myrtle family, Myrtaceae, is native to the highlands of southern Brazil, Colombia, Uruguay, and northern Argentina. It is widely cultivated as a garden plant and fruiting tree in New Zealand, and can be found as a garden plant in Australia and...

(= Acca, Pineapple Guava) were formerly included in Psidium.

Common names

The term "guava" appears to derive from Arawak guayabo "guava tree", via the Spanish
Spanish language
Spanish , also known as Castilian , is a Romance language in the Ibero-Romance group that evolved from several languages and dialects in central-northern Iberia around the 9th century and gradually spread with the expansion of the Kingdom of Castile into central and southern Iberia during the...

 guayaba. It has been adapted in many Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

an languages: guava (Romanian, Swedish, Danish and Norwegian, also Greek Γκουάβα and Russian Гуава), Guave (Dutch and German), goyave (French), gujawa (Polish), goiaba (Portuguese).

Outside of Europe, the Arabic jwafa, the Japanese guaba (グアバ), the Tamil "koiyaa" (கொய்யா), the Tongan kuava and probably also the Tagalog
Tagalog language
Tagalog is an Austronesian language spoken as a first language by a third of the population of the Philippines and as a second language by most of the rest. It is the first language of the Philippine region IV and of Metro Manila...

 bayabas are ultimately derived from the Arawak term.

Another term for guavas is pera or variants thereof. It is common around the western Indian Ocean
Indian Ocean
The Indian Ocean is the third largest of the world's oceanic divisions, covering approximately 20% of the water on the Earth's surface. It is bounded on the north by the Indian Subcontinent and Arabian Peninsula ; on the west by eastern Africa; on the east by Indochina, the Sunda Islands, and...

 and probably derives from Spanish or Portuguese, which means "pear", or from some language of southern India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

, though it is so widespread in the region that its origin cannot be clearly discerned any more. Pera itself is used in Malayalam, Sinhala and Swahili
Swahili language
Swahili or Kiswahili is a Bantu language spoken by various ethnic groups that inhabit several large stretches of the Mozambique Channel coastline from northern Kenya to northern Mozambique, including the Comoro Islands. It is also spoken by ethnic minority groups in Somalia...

. In Marathi it is peru (पेरू), in Bengali pearah (পেয়ারা), in Kannada it is pearaley ('ಪೇರಲೆ') or seebe kaayi ('ಸೀಬೇಕಾಯಿ ') and in Dhivehi
Dhivehi language
Maldivian is an Indo-Aryan language predominantly spoken by about 350,000 people in the Maldives where it is the national language. It is also the first language of nearly 10,000 people in the island of Minicoy in the Union territory of Lakshadweep, India where the Mahl dialect of the Maldivian...

 feyru. In Telugu language it is "Jama kaya". Guava is also called Amrood ('अमरुद') in northern India, although its etymology is not clear. It is called pijuli in Oriya language
Oriya language
Oriya , officially Odia from November, 2011, is an Indian language, belonging to the Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European language family. It is mainly spoken in the Indian states of Orissa and West Bengal...

 in eastern India.

Additional terms for guavas from their native range are, for example, sawintu (Quechua
Quechua languages
Quechua is a Native South American language family and dialect cluster spoken primarily in the Andes of South America, derived from an original common ancestor language, Proto-Quechua. It is the most widely spoken language family of the indigenous peoples of the Americas, with a total of probably...

) and xālxocotl (Nāhuatl
Nahuatl
Nahuatl is thought to mean "a good, clear sound" This language name has several spellings, among them náhuatl , Naoatl, Nauatl, Nahuatl, Nawatl. In a back formation from the name of the language, the ethnic group of Nahuatl speakers are called Nahua...

)

Ecology and uses

Psidium species are used as food plants by the caterpillar
Caterpillar
Caterpillars are the larval form of members of the order Lepidoptera . They are mostly herbivorous in food habit, although some species are insectivorous. Caterpillars are voracious feeders and many of them are considered to be pests in agriculture...

s of some Lepidoptera
Lepidoptera
Lepidoptera is a large order of insects that includes moths and butterflies . It is one of the most widespread and widely recognizable insect orders in the world, encompassing moths and the three superfamilies of butterflies, skipper butterflies, and moth-butterflies...

, mainly moth
Moth
A moth is an insect closely related to the butterfly, both being of the order Lepidoptera. Moths form the majority of this order; there are thought to be 150,000 to 250,000 different species of moth , with thousands of species yet to be described...

s like the Ello Sphinx (Erinnyis ello
Erinnyis ello
Erinnyis ello, commonly known as the Ello Sphinx, is a member of the Sphingidae family. It resides from Argentina, through Central America, and as far north as Nevada, US in North America....

), Eupseudosoma aberrans, E. involutum, and Hypercompe icasia. Mite
Mite
Mites, along with ticks, are small arthropods belonging to the subclass Acari and the class Arachnida. The scientific discipline devoted to the study of ticks and mites is called acarology.-Diversity and systematics:...

s like Pronematus pruni
Pronematus pruni
Pronematus pruni is a species of mite belonging to the family Tydeidae. This small oval mite is around 300 μm in length with a smooth body and legs much shorter than the body...

and Tydeus munsteri
Tydeus munsteri
Tydeus munsteri is a species of mite belonging to the family Tydeidae. This very small oval, eyeless mite is around 250 μm in length with a soft body covered in striations...

are known to parasitize the Apple Guava (P. guajava
Psidium guajava
The apple guava or common guava is an evergreen shrub or small tree native to Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America...

) and perhaps other species. The bacterium Erwinia psidii
Erwinia psidii
Erwinia psidii is a Gram-negative bacterium and a phytopathogen of the Common Guava , causing rot in branches, flowers and fruits...

causes rot diseases of the Apple Guava.

The fruit are not only relished by humans, but by many mammal
Mammal
Mammals are members of a class of air-breathing vertebrate animals characterised by the possession of endothermy, hair, three middle ear bones, and mammary glands functional in mothers with young...

s and bird
Bird
Birds are feathered, winged, bipedal, endothermic , egg-laying, vertebrate animals. Around 10,000 living species and 188 families makes them the most speciose class of tetrapod vertebrates. They inhabit ecosystems across the globe, from the Arctic to the Antarctic. Extant birds range in size from...

s as well. The spread of introduced guavas owes much to this fact, as animals will eat the fruit and disperse the seeds in their droppings.

In several tropical regions, including Hawaii
Hawaii
Hawaii is the newest of the 50 U.S. states , and is the only U.S. state made up entirely of islands. It is the northernmost island group in Polynesia, occupying most of an archipelago in the central Pacific Ocean, southwest of the continental United States, southeast of Japan, and northeast of...

, some species (namely Strawberry Guava, P. littorale, and to a lesser extent Apple Guava Psidium guajava
Psidium guajava
The apple guava or common guava is an evergreen shrub or small tree native to Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America...

) have become invasive species
Invasive species
"Invasive species", or invasive exotics, is a nomenclature term and categorization phrase used for flora and fauna, and for specific restoration-preservation processes in native habitats, with several definitions....

. On the other hand, several species have become very rare due to habitat destruction
Habitat destruction
Habitat destruction is the process in which natural habitat is rendered functionally unable to support the species present. In this process, the organisms that previously used the site are displaced or destroyed, reducing biodiversity. Habitat destruction by human activity mainly for the purpose of...

 and at least one (Jamaican Guava, P. dumetorum
Psidium dumetorum
Psidium dumetorum was a species of plant in the Myrtaceae family endemic to Jamaica. It is now extinct.-Source:* Kelly, D.L. 1998. . Downloaded on 23 August 2007....

), is already extinct
Extinction
In biology and ecology, extinction is the end of an organism or of a group of organisms , normally a species. The moment of extinction is generally considered to be the death of the last individual of the species, although the capacity to breed and recover may have been lost before this point...

.

Guava wood is used for meat smoking in Hawaii and is being used at barbecue
Barbecue
Barbecue or barbeque , used chiefly in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Australia is a method and apparatus for cooking meat, poultry and occasionally fish with the heat and hot smoke of a fire, smoking wood, or hot coals of...

 competitions across the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

. In Cuba
Cuba
The Republic of Cuba is an island nation in the Caribbean. The nation of Cuba consists of the main island of Cuba, the Isla de la Juventud, and several archipelagos. Havana is the largest city in Cuba and the country's capital. Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city...

 the leaves are also used in barbecues, providing a smoked flavor and scent to the meat.

Cultivation for fruit

Guavas are cultivated in many tropical and subtropical countries for their edible fruit. Several species
Species
In biology, a species is one of the basic units of biological classification and a taxonomic rank. A species is often defined as a group of organisms capable of interbreeding and producing fertile offspring. While in many cases this definition is adequate, more precise or differing measures are...

 are grown commercially; apple guava (P. guajava
Psidium guajava
The apple guava or common guava is an evergreen shrub or small tree native to Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America...

) and its cultivar
Cultivar
A cultivar'Cultivar has two meanings as explained under Formal definition. When used in reference to a taxon, the word does not apply to an individual plant but to all those plants sharing the unique characteristics that define the cultivar. is a plant or group of plants selected for desirable...

s are those most commonly traded internationally.

Mature trees of most species are fairly cold-hardy and can survive as low as 5 °C (41 °F) for short periods of time, but younger plants will not survive. They are known to survive in Northern Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

 where they can get down to 5°C or lower during the night. A few species - notably strawberry guavas - can survive temperatures several degrees below freezing for short periods of time. Guavas are also of interest to home growers in temperate areas, being one of the few tropical fruits that can grow to fruiting size in pots indoors. When grown from seed, guavas can bloom and bear fruit as soon as two years, or as long as eight years.

Guava fruit

Guava fruit, usually 4 to 12 cm long, are round or oval depending on the species. The outer skin may be rough, often with a bitter taste, or soft and sweet. Varying between species, the skin can be any thickness, is usually green before maturity, but becomes yellow, maroon, or green when ripe.

Guava fruit generally have a pronounced and typical fragrance, similar to lemon
Lemon
The lemon is both a small evergreen tree native to Asia, and the tree's ellipsoidal yellow fruit. The fruit is used for culinary and non-culinary purposes throughout the world – primarily for its juice, though the pulp and rind are also used, mainly in cooking and baking...

 rind but less sharp. Guava pulp may be sweet or sour, off-white ("white" guavas) to deep pink ("red" guavas), with the seeds in the central pulp of variable number and hardness, depending on species.

Culinary uses

In Hawaii, guava fruit is eaten with soy sauce and vinegar. Occasionally, a pinch of sugar and black pepper are added to the soy sauce and vinegar mixture. The guava fruit is cut up and dipped into the sauce.

In Pakistan and India, guava fruit is often eaten raw, typically cut into quarters with a pinch of salt and pepper and sometimes cayenne powder/masala. Street vendors often sell guava fruit for a couple of rupees each.

In the Philippines, ripe guava is used in cooking sinigang
Sinigang
Sinigang is a Filipino soup or stew characterized by its sour flavor most often associated with tamarind .- Ingredients :Sinigang is traditionally tamarind based. Other versions of the dish derive their sourness from ingredients such as guava, calamansi, bilimbi, or raw mango among others...

.

The fruit is also often prepared as a dessert, in fruit salads. In Asia, fresh guava slices are often dipped in preserved prune
Plum
A plum or gage is a stone fruit tree in the genus Prunus, subgenus Prunus. The subgenus is distinguished from other subgenera in the shoots having a terminal bud and solitary side buds , the flowers in groups of one to five together on short stems, and the fruit having a groove running down one...

 powder or salt. In India it is often sprinkled with red rock salt, which is very tart.

Because of the high level of pectin
Pectin
Pectin is a structural heteropolysaccharide contained in the primary cell walls of terrestrial plants. It was first isolated and described in 1825 by Henri Braconnot...

, guavas are extensively used to make candies, preserves, jellies, jams, marmalades (Brazilian goiabada
Goiabada
Goiabada is a popular dessert throughout the Portuguese-speaking countries of the world, dating back to the colonial days in Brazil, where guavas were used as a substitute for the quinces used to make marmelada . Abundance of sugar and slave labour were crucial for its confection, in large...

), and also for juices and aguas frescas
Aguas frescas
Ades, punches, fruit drinks and other non-alcoholic flavored coolers, known as aguas frescas in some parts of Latin America, are a combination of either fruits, cereals, or seeds with sugar and water, blended to make a beverage. Aguas frescas are popular in Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean,...

.

Guava juice is very popular in Hawaii
Hawaii
Hawaii is the newest of the 50 U.S. states , and is the only U.S. state made up entirely of islands. It is the northernmost island group in Polynesia, occupying most of an archipelago in the central Pacific Ocean, southwest of the continental United States, southeast of Japan, and northeast of...

, Cuba
Cuba
The Republic of Cuba is an island nation in the Caribbean. The nation of Cuba consists of the main island of Cuba, the Isla de la Juventud, and several archipelagos. Havana is the largest city in Cuba and the country's capital. Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city...

, Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico , officially the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico , is an unincorporated territory of the United States, located in the northeastern Caribbean, east of the Dominican Republic and west of both the United States Virgin Islands and the British Virgin Islands.Puerto Rico comprises an...

, Colombia
Colombia
Colombia, officially the Republic of Colombia , is a unitary constitutional republic comprising thirty-two departments. The country is located in northwestern South America, bordered to the east by Venezuela and Brazil; to the south by Ecuador and Peru; to the north by the Caribbean Sea; to the...

, Venezuela
Venezuela
Venezuela , officially called the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela , is a tropical country on the northern coast of South America. It borders Colombia to the west, Guyana to the east, and Brazil to the south...

, Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

, Mexico
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

, and South Africa
South Africa
The Republic of South Africa is a country in southern Africa. Located at the southern tip of Africa, it is divided into nine provinces, with of coastline on the Atlantic and Indian oceans...

.

"Red" guavas can be used as the base of salted products such as sauces, substituting for tomato
Tomato
The word "tomato" may refer to the plant or the edible, typically red, fruit which it bears. Originating in South America, the tomato was spread around the world following the Spanish colonization of the Americas, and its many varieties are now widely grown, often in greenhouses in cooler...

es, especially for those sensitive to the latter's acidity. In Asia, a drink is made from an infusion
Infusion
An infusion is the outcome of steeping plants with desired chemical compounds or flavors in water or oil.-History:The first recorded use of essential oils was in the 10th or 11th century by the Persian polymath Avicenna, possibly in The Canon of Medicine.-Preparation techniques:An infusion is very...

 of guava fruits and leaves. In Brazil, the infusion made with guava tree leaves (chá-de-goiabeira, i.e. "tea" of guava tree leaves) is considered medicinal.

Nutritional value

Guavas are rich in dietary fiber
Dietary fiber
Dietary fiber, dietary fibre, or sometimes roughage is the indigestible portion of plant foods having two main components:* soluble fiber that is readily fermented in the colon into gases and physiologically active byproducts, and* insoluble fiber that is metabolically inert, absorbing water as it...

, vitamins A
Vitamin A
Vitamin A is a vitamin that is needed by the retina of the eye in the form of a specific metabolite, the light-absorbing molecule retinal, that is necessary for both low-light and color vision...

 and C
Vitamin C
Vitamin C or L-ascorbic acid or L-ascorbate is an essential nutrient for humans and certain other animal species. In living organisms ascorbate acts as an antioxidant by protecting the body against oxidative stress...

, folic acid
Folic acid
Folic acid and folate , as well as pteroyl-L-glutamic acid, pteroyl-L-glutamate, and pteroylmonoglutamic acid are forms of the water-soluble vitamin B9...

, and the dietary mineral
Dietary mineral
Dietary minerals are the chemical elements required by living organisms, other than the four elements carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, and oxygen present in common organic molecules. Examples of mineral elements include calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium, zinc, and iodine...

s, potassium
Potassium
Potassium is the chemical element with the symbol K and atomic number 19. Elemental potassium is a soft silvery-white alkali metal that oxidizes rapidly in air and is very reactive with water, generating sufficient heat to ignite the hydrogen emitted in the reaction.Potassium and sodium are...

, copper and manganese
Manganese
Manganese is a chemical element, designated by the symbol Mn. It has the atomic number 25. It is found as a free element in nature , and in many minerals...

. Having a generally broad, low-calorie profile of essential nutrient
Essential nutrient
An essential nutrient is a nutrient required for normal body functioning that either cannot be synthesized by the body at all, or cannot be synthesized in amounts adequate for good health , and thus must be obtained from a dietary source...

s, a single common guava (P. guajava
Psidium guajava
The apple guava or common guava is an evergreen shrub or small tree native to Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America...

) fruit contains about four times the amount of vitamin C as an orange.

However, nutrient content varies across guava cultivar
Cultivar
A cultivar'Cultivar has two meanings as explained under Formal definition. When used in reference to a taxon, the word does not apply to an individual plant but to all those plants sharing the unique characteristics that define the cultivar. is a plant or group of plants selected for desirable...

s. Although the strawberry guava
Strawberry guava
Psidium cattleianum, named in honour of notable English horticulturist Sir William Cattley, commonly known as Cattley guava or Peruvian guava, is a small tree , bearing small red or yellow fruit, which are somewhat sour but sometimes eaten or made into jam...

 (P. littorale var. cattleianum), notably containing 90 mg of vitamin C per serving, has about 25% of the amount found in more common varieties, its total vitamin C content in one serving still provides 100% of the Dietary Reference Intake
Dietary Reference Intake
The Dietary Reference Intake is a system of nutrition recommendations from the Institute of Medicine of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences. The DRI system is used by both the United States and Canada and is intended for the general public and health professionals...

 for adult males.
Guavas contain both carotenoid
Carotenoid
Carotenoids are tetraterpenoid organic pigments that are naturally occurring in the chloroplasts and chromoplasts of plants and some other photosynthetic organisms like algae, some bacteria, and some types of fungus. Carotenoids can be synthesized fats and other basic organic metabolic building...

s and polyphenols like (+)-gallocatechin, guaijaverin, leucocyanidin
Leucocyanidin
Leucocyanidin is a colorless chemical compound related to leucoanthocyanidins. Leucoyanidin can be found in Aesculus hippocastanum , Anacardium occidentale , Arachis hypogaea , Areca catechu , Asimina triloba , Cerasus vulgaris , Cinnamomum camphora , Erythroxylon...

 and amritoside – the major classes of antioxidant
Antioxidant
An antioxidant is a molecule capable of inhibiting the oxidation of other molecules. Oxidation is a chemical reaction that transfers electrons or hydrogen from a substance to an oxidizing agent. Oxidation reactions can produce free radicals. In turn, these radicals can start chain reactions. When...

 pigment
Pigment
A pigment is a material that changes the color of reflected or transmitted light as the result of wavelength-selective absorption. This physical process differs from fluorescence, phosphorescence, and other forms of luminescence, in which a material emits light.Many materials selectively absorb...

s – giving them relatively high potential antioxidant value among plant foods. As these pigments produce the fruit skin and flesh color, guavas that are red-orange have more pigment content as polyphenol, carotenoid and pro-vitamin A, retinoid
Retinoid
The retinoids are a class of chemical compounds that are related chemically to vitamin A. Retinoids are used in medicine, primarily due to the way they regulate epithelial cell growth....

 sources than yellow-green ones.
Common Guava, per 165 g of individual fruit portion
Calories 112
Moisture 133 g
Dietary Fiber
Dietary fiber
Dietary fiber, dietary fibre, or sometimes roughage is the indigestible portion of plant foods having two main components:* soluble fiber that is readily fermented in the colon into gases and physiologically active byproducts, and* insoluble fiber that is metabolically inert, absorbing water as it...

8.9 g (36%)
Protein
Protein
Proteins are biochemical compounds consisting of one or more polypeptides typically folded into a globular or fibrous form, facilitating a biological function. A polypeptide is a single linear polymer chain of amino acids bonded together by peptide bonds between the carboxyl and amino groups of...

4.2 g (8%)
Fat 1.6 g (2%)
Ash 2.3 g
Carbohydrates 23.6 g (8%)
Calcium
Calcium
Calcium is the chemical element with the symbol Ca and atomic number 20. It has an atomic mass of 40.078 amu. Calcium is a soft gray alkaline earth metal, and is the fifth-most-abundant element by mass in the Earth's crust...

30 mg (3%)
Phosphorus
Phosphorus
Phosphorus is the chemical element that has the symbol P and atomic number 15. A multivalent nonmetal of the nitrogen group, phosphorus as a mineral is almost always present in its maximally oxidized state, as inorganic phosphate rocks...

66 mg (7%)
Iron
Iron
Iron is a chemical element with the symbol Fe and atomic number 26. It is a metal in the first transition series. It is the most common element forming the planet Earth as a whole, forming much of Earth's outer and inner core. It is the fourth most common element in the Earth's crust...

0.4 mg (2%)
Potassium
Potassium
Potassium is the chemical element with the symbol K and atomic number 19. Elemental potassium is a soft silvery-white alkali metal that oxidizes rapidly in air and is very reactive with water, generating sufficient heat to ignite the hydrogen emitted in the reaction.Potassium and sodium are...

688 mg (20%)
Copper
Copper
Copper is a chemical element with the symbol Cu and atomic number 29. It is a ductile metal with very high thermal and electrical conductivity. Pure copper is soft and malleable; an exposed surface has a reddish-orange tarnish...

0.4 mg (19%)
Beta-carotene
Beta-carotene
β-Carotene is a strongly-coloured red-orange pigment abundant in plants and fruits. It is an organic compound and chemically is classified as a hydrocarbon and specifically as a terpenoid , reflecting its derivation from isoprene units...

 (Vitamin A)
1030 IU (21%)
Ascorbic acid
Ascorbic acid
Ascorbic acid is a naturally occurring organic compound with antioxidant properties. It is a white solid, but impure samples can appear yellowish. It dissolves well in water to give mildly acidic solutions. Ascorbic acid is one form of vitamin C. The name is derived from a- and scorbutus , the...

 (Vitamin C)
377 mg (628%)
Thiamin (Vitamin B1) 0.1 mg (7%)
Riboflavin
Riboflavin
Riboflavin, also known as vitamin B2 or additive E101, is an easily absorbed micronutrient with a key role in maintaining health in humans and animals. It is the central component of the cofactors FAD and FMN, and is therefore required by all flavoproteins. As such, vitamin B2 is required for a...

 (Vitamin B2)
0.1 mg (4%)
Niacin
Niacin
"Niacin" redirects here. For the neo-fusion band, see Niacin .Niacin is an organic compound with the formula and, depending on the definition used, one of the forty to eighty essential human nutrients.Niacin is one of five vitamins associated with a pandemic deficiency disease: niacin deficiency...

 (Vitamin B3)
1.8 mg (9%)
Folic acid
Folic acid
Folic acid and folate , as well as pteroyl-L-glutamic acid, pteroyl-L-glutamate, and pteroylmonoglutamic acid are forms of the water-soluble vitamin B9...

81 mcg (20%)

% Daily Value in parentheses.
Nutrient data source: US Department of Agriculture National Nutrient Database from Nutritiondata.com

Potential medical uses

Since the 1950s, guavas – particularly the leaves
Leaves
-History:Vocalist Arnar Gudjonsson was formerly the guitarist with Mower, and he was joined by Hallur Hallsson , Arnar Ólafsson , Bjarni Grímsson , and Andri Ásgrímsson . Late in 2001 they played with Emiliana Torrini and drew early praise from the New York Times...

 – have been a subject for diverse research in chemical identity of their constituents, pharmacological properties and history in folk medicine
Folk medicine
-Description:Refers to healing practices and ideas of body physiology and health preservation known to a limited segment of the population in a culture, transmitted informally as general knowledge, and practiced or applied by anyone in the culture having prior experience.All cultures and societies...

. Most research, however, has been conducted on apple guava (P. guajava
Psidium guajava
The apple guava or common guava is an evergreen shrub or small tree native to Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America...

), with other species remaining undefined. From preliminary medical research in laboratory models, extract
Extract
An extract is a substance made by extracting a part of a raw material, often by using a solvent such as ethanol or water. Extracts may be sold as tinctures or in powder form....

s from apple guava leaves or bark are implicated in therapeutic mechanisms against cancer
Cancer
Cancer , known medically as a malignant neoplasm, is a large group of different diseases, all involving unregulated cell growth. In cancer, cells divide and grow uncontrollably, forming malignant tumors, and invade nearby parts of the body. The cancer may also spread to more distant parts of the...

, bacteria
Bacteria
Bacteria are a large domain of prokaryotic microorganisms. Typically a few micrometres in length, bacteria have a wide range of shapes, ranging from spheres to rods and spirals...

l infections, inflammation
Inflammation
Inflammation is part of the complex biological response of vascular tissues to harmful stimuli, such as pathogens, damaged cells, or irritants. Inflammation is a protective attempt by the organism to remove the injurious stimuli and to initiate the healing process...

 and pain
Pain
Pain is an unpleasant sensation often caused by intense or damaging stimuli such as stubbing a toe, burning a finger, putting iodine on a cut, and bumping the "funny bone."...

. Essential oil
Essential oil
An essential oil is a concentrated hydrophobic liquid containing volatile aroma compounds from plants. Essential oils are also known as volatile oils, ethereal oils or aetherolea, or simply as the "oil of" the plant from which they were extracted, such as oil of clove...

s from guava leaves display anti-cancer activity in vitro
In vitro
In vitro refers to studies in experimental biology that are conducted using components of an organism that have been isolated from their usual biological context in order to permit a more detailed or more convenient analysis than can be done with whole organisms. Colloquially, these experiments...

.

Guava leaves are used in folk medicine
Folk medicine
-Description:Refers to healing practices and ideas of body physiology and health preservation known to a limited segment of the population in a culture, transmitted informally as general knowledge, and practiced or applied by anyone in the culture having prior experience.All cultures and societies...

 as a remedy for diarrhea
Diarrhea
Diarrhea , also spelled diarrhoea, is the condition of having three or more loose or liquid bowel movements per day. It is a common cause of death in developing countries and the second most common cause of infant deaths worldwide. The loss of fluids through diarrhea can cause dehydration and...

 and, as well as the bark, for their supposed antimicrobial
Antimicrobial
An anti-microbial is a substance that kills or inhibits the growth of microorganisms such as bacteria, fungi, or protozoans. Antimicrobial drugs either kill microbes or prevent the growth of microbes...

 properties and as an astringent
Astringent
An astringent substance is a chemical compound that tends to shrink or constrict body tissues, usually locally after topical medicinal application. The word "astringent" derives from Latin adstringere, meaning "to bind fast"...

. Guava leaves or bark are used in traditional treatments against diabetes. In Trinidad
Trinidad
Trinidad is the larger and more populous of the two major islands and numerous landforms which make up the island nation of Trinidad and Tobago. It is the southernmost island in the Caribbean and lies just off the northeastern coast of Venezuela. With an area of it is also the fifth largest in...

, a tea made from young leaves is used for diarrhea, dysentery
Dysentery
Dysentery is an inflammatory disorder of the intestine, especially of the colon, that results in severe diarrhea containing mucus and/or blood in the faeces with fever and abdominal pain. If left untreated, dysentery can be fatal.There are differences between dysentery and normal bloody diarrhoea...

 and fever.

Selected species

Formerly placed here

  • Acca macrostema (Ruiz & Pav. ex G.Don) McVaugh (as P. macrostemum Ruiz & Pav. ex G.Don)
  • Campomanesia adamantium (Cambess.) O.Berg (as P. adamantium Cambess.)
  • Campomanesia aromatica
    Campomanesia aromatica
    Campomanesia aromatica is a species of plant in the Myrtaceae family. It is endemic to Brazil.-References:* Pires O'Brien, J. 1998. . Downloaded on 21 August 2007....

    (Aubl.) Griseb. (as P. aromatica Aubl.)
  • Campomanesia grandiflora (Aubl.) Sagot (as P. grandiflorum Aubl.)
  • Campomanesia guaviroba (DC.) Kiaersk. (as P. cerasoides Cambess. or P. guaviroba DC.)
  • Campomanesia lineatifolia Ruiz & Pav. (as P. rivulare DC.)
  • Campomanesia pubescens (Mart. ex DC.) O.Berg (as P. corymbosum Cambess., P. obversum Miq. or P. pubescens Mart. ex DC.)
  • Eugenia salamensis var. rensoniana
    Eugenia salamensis
    Eugenia salamensis is a species of plant in the Myrtaceae family. It is found in Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico, and Nicaragua.-Source:* Nelson, C. 1998. . Downloaded 21 August 2007....

    (Standl.) McVaugh (as P. rensonianum Standl.)
  • Myrciaria dubia (Kunth) McVaugh (as P. dubium Kunth)

External links

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