Ajuntament de Barcelona

Acca sellowiana

Mossèn Cinto Verdaguer Garden

    Catalan name: 
    Spanish name: 
    Guayaba del Brasil
    English name: 
    Pineapple guava
    Botanical synonyms: 
    Feijoa sellowiana, Orthostemon sellowianus
    Species characteristics
    Southern Brazil, Colombia, Uruguay and Northern Argentina
    Warm and subtropical areas

    Perennial tree 1-7 m tall, with rough slightly flaky light grey bark.

    The leaves, 4-6 cm long and 3-4 cm wide, are dark green.

    The flowers, about 3.5 cm in diameter, are composed of 4 white sepals whites and a corolla of 4 curved petals (the outside of which is white and the inside pink). They appear on the terminal small branches isolated or into groups of up to 4 flowers.

    The fruits are very fragrant and have calyx's segments sticked to one of the ends. They vary in shape, size and colour depending on the varieties: from globose to elliptical, 2-9 cm long and 3-3.5 cm in diameter. The skin is always waxy but its texture and colour vary: from greyish-green to dark green with red or orange shades. The fleshy and edible pulp is juicy and grainy. The nearest to the skin one is firmer and more opaque, whereas the one surrounding the seeds (20-40, very small and oblong) is gelatinous and translucent, with a sweet or slightly acid touch.

    Flowering time: 
    Fruiting time: 
    Uses and properties: 

    Fruits from the Pineapple Guava are usually eaten fresh as a fruit or in smoothies but also used to make melmelades, ice cream and liqueurs or in dishes, both salty and sweet, such as chutney.

    It's easy to see it in gardens as a decoration plant. The tone of its leaves serve as a contrast with the green of other trees. It works well in warm areas.

    History and curiosities: 

    The scientific name, Acca sellowiana, consists of the genus name Acca and the Latin term sellowiana, “of Sellow", in honour of the German naturalist Friedrich Sellow (1789-1831), one of the first scientific explorers in Brazil who in 1819 found the pineapple guava in the state of Rio Grande do Sul.

    In many languages the tree is known with the name feijoa, which was given in honour of the Brazilian botanist João da Silva Feijó (1760-1824) by the German botanist Otto Karl Berg (1815-1866), who que suggested the botanic name Feijoa sellowiana. In La Cellera de Ter (Catalonia), the plant has a specific name: haihòber (pronounced with the H as in English), which according the enigmist Màrius Serra might be an extreme distortion of, exactly, feijoa.

    For further information: 

    LÓPEZ GONZÁLEZ, Ginés A. Los árboles y arbustos de la Península Ibérica e Islas Baleares. (2 vol.) Madrid: Mundi-Prensa, 2001

    THE ROYAL HORTICULTURAL SOCIETY. Enciclopedia de plantas y flores. Barcelona: Grijalbo, 1996