Forms thickets and shades out native vegetation in forests and open woodlands (Cronk and Fuller 1995). Has had catastrophic effect on native habitats of Mauritius, and considered the worst pest plant in Hawaii, where it has invaded a variety of natural areas (Cronk and Fuller 1995).
Evergreen shrub or small tree to 8 m (25 ft) tall, with gray to reddish-brown peeling bark and young branches round, pubescent. Leaves opposite, simple, entire, glabrous, elliptic to oblong, to 8 cm (3 in) long. Flowers to 2.5 cm (1.2 in) wide, borne singly at leaf axils, with white petals and a mass of white and yellow stamens. Fruit a globose berry, 3-6 cm (1.2-2.4 in) long, purple-red, with whitish flesh usually sweet-tasting when ripe; seeds numerous. (Langeland and Burks, 1998)
May be confused with the common guava (P. guajava), which has 4-angled branches and larger leaves with the veins prominently raised below. (Langeland and Burks, 1998)
Introduced to Florida in the 1880s for ornament and as a fruit crop (Gordon and Thomas 1997), and since planted extensively (Watkins 1970, Broschat and Meerow 1991).
Reported from Florida parks and preserves in Pinellas, Hillsborough, Martin, and Palm Beach counties (EPPC 1996).
Basal bark or cut stump: 10% Garlon® 4.