Guyaba Guayabas (Psidium guajava)

Just last week I was spotting L.A. river blogger creekfreak while he bench pressed a whole bunch of weights (was it 300 pounds?) at our local YMCA. Between hefting all that poundage (we’re both getting ready for the inaugural L.A. River Adventure Race), the conversation turned to a productive guyaba fruit tree on the grounds of the L.A. Eco-village, where the creekmesiter’s crib is located.

Guyaba (Psidium guajava–“guyaba” is the Spanish Dutch word for “white guava”) is a small tree native to Central America. It’s one of around 60 species of guava and is also known as “apple guava” and “yellow guava”. According to the California Rare Fruit Growers, it can be propagated by seed or by air layering. The apple guava has a delicate tropical flavor, and according to creekfreak, some varieties have edible seeds. The fruit off creekfreak’s tree rots really quickly, so don’t look for him to be opening a booth at your local farmer’s market. The tree seems fairly drought tolerant, but more productive with water. Guava expert Leslie Landrum notes that the guava is a “weedy tree, a tree that likes disturbance. It likes to grow along roads and in pastures. Animals eat the fruit and spread the seeds around.”

It’s also a fruit so tasty that creekfreak occasionally has to chase off guyaba rustlers poaching specimens off his tree.

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  1. This is the aforementioned creekfreak chiming in. Everything Homegrown Evolution wrote is true (except possibly his gross underestimation of my ferocious strength in bench pressing.)

    I do have a love-hate relationship with the guyaba tree, which was planted in the front yard of the LA Eco-Village apartment building before I moved here in 1996. The fruit is yummy. Unfortunately most of my neighbors (many from southern Mexico and other parts of Central America) also know that the fruit is yummy… and some of them walk across my garden (ouch!) in October through December to pick the fruit (luckily it fruits at a time when my summer garden is often in decline) so I don’t get too much of it… but I can take solace in that someone else, who may need it more than I, is getting some nutrition and delight from it.

  2. It only lasts about 2 months of harvest. Tell them to come over and eat my produce. God, I give it to the neighbors and still have buckets full. My plant is from my grandmother, on her property, which I live on. I have been eating fruit from this tree for over 30 years, La Habra,CA.

  3. I have this kind of guava too. I can’t stand it fresh, but I keep a stockpile of guava jelly – absolutely divine on toast or crackers.

  4. mmm. two of these were on my sidewalk this morning – a free gift from my neighbors’ tree. ate ’em while i walked my son to school (he declined to eat one). mmm. may have to ask them if i can pick a few more.

  5. I just found some of these in a local market (in Crystal Lake, IL). How do you judge ripeness? These range from a pure yellow to a yellow-with-hints-of-green, so I’m assuming they’re not quite ripe. The one I tried was still a bit tangy and unripe tasting, though it did have a definite guava flavor. Do they soften when completely ripe?

  6. Anonymous,

    I’m guessing yellow skin would be a good measure of ripeness. I’ve only had them once and can’t recall, exactly. I remember not being the biggest fan of this fruit. Will have to ask Joe the next time I see him.

  7. Waited a week after it was yellow, when slight discoloration on the surface from bruising was starting, and had another. Still a bit tangy, and a light guava flavor, not much different. So “yellow” seems to be pretty much ripe, it seems. They’re ok, but I wouldn’t go out of my way for them.

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