Common Guava - Psidium guajava

The Common Guava (Psidium guajaya) is the type species for the 100 member Psidium genus. It also goes by the names Apple Guava, Brazilian Guava or often just Guava. It is an edible fruit tree that is quite common in tropical countries. The tree itself is not very large which is a rather good thing if you are like me and enjoy picking its fruits. Most of the trees that I have seen have not been more than 15-20 feet tall.

I took the pictures for this post in the "Concepción" historical-botanical garden in Malaga, Spain along what is called the "Around the World in 80 Trees" trail. My exposure to this tree however goes quite a bit farther back to when I was groing up in Papua New Guinea. These trees are not navite to PNG but have been widely planted and grow quite well.

We had a Cherry Guava tree in our yard but several of our neighboors had the Common Guava tree in theirs. When I was a kid we used to sneak through the back yards of our neighboors and grab a few of the ripe fruits on the sly. Not many of these neighboors would be too upset however as there was normally enough fruits on the trees and a good number of them would end up rotting on the ground.

I remember one day when my best friend and I found a Guava tree heavily laden with beautiful ripe fruit. We quickly plucked a few of the best looking ones off the tree. While my friend took a big bite out of one of his Guavas I broke one of mine open to check what it looked like on the inside. Mine was crawling with worms! I told my buddy to take a look at the inside of mine and his face suddenly turned a pale green color and a moment later was spitting and gaging all over the place trying to get every trace of the worm ladden Guava out of his system.
The Guavas in these pictures (from a Guava that I picked up off the ground and did not eat) did not have any worms.

Ripe Guavas have a thin yellow skin that encloses a soft peach colored "meat" that contains the seeds. The entire fruit is edible, skin, seeds and meat but often we would just eat the meat and seeds since we had not washed the outside of the fruit.


  1. Where in PNG did you grow up? I spent a year of linguistic fieldwork there in 1976, in Morobe Province.

  2. I've heard from my boyfriend's dad that the best guava has worms in it...that's when it's at it's sweetest. I forget the whole story now, I need to research it. It's safe to eat though.