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FLIP

FLIP: Florida Invasive Plants

Psidium guajava

Common Name(s): Guava

Origin

Tropical America.

Ecological Impact

Weedy in landscaping and spreading into hammocks and pinelands. Has become dominant in the understory of some cypress strands. Forms thickets and has a serious impact in native forests and open woodlands. Present as a weed in 20 countries; a common to serious pest in 9 of these. Along with the strawberry guava and the Surinam cherry, also serves as a major host for the naturalized Caribbean fruit fly, Anastrepha suspensa (Loew), whuich occasionally spreads to commercial citrus crops (Nguyen et al. 1993).Listed as a category I invasive species by Florida Exotic Pest Plant council (FLEPPC).

Description

Evergreen shrub or small tree to 9 m (30 ft) tall, with scaly greenish-brown bark and young branches 4- angled, pubescent. Leaves opposite, simple, short stalked, entire, oval to oblong-elliptic, to 15 cm (6 in) long, pubescent below, with veins impressed above and conspicuously raised below. Flowers white, fragrant, to 4 cm (1.6 in) wide, borne singly or a few together at leaf axils; many stamens. Fruits an oval or pear-shaped berry, 3-10 cm (1-4 in) long, yellow at maturity, with yellow or dark pink flesh somewhat dull in taste; seeds numerous.

Identification Tips

May be confused with the Strawberry guava (see Strawberry guava for description).

History

Introduced early to Florida, naturalized by 1765 (DeBrahm 1773). Planted extenseively for edible fruit and ornament.

Range

Found in Florida from Pinellas and Brevard counties south to the Keys (Nelson 1994).

Management Strategies

Do not plant. Remove root systems and seedlings.

Photos

Most photos courtesy of the Atlas of Florida Plants; click for additional plant details.

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Florida Invasive Plants