Orange County Chapter CRFG

Sharing Information on Growing Edible Plants

IN THE ARBORETUM TODAY

by Alfredo Chiri

araçá - Myrtaceae
Donated by: CRFG and planted in 1990 (r.f.-03)
Common Names: Brazilian guava, araçá, araçazeiro, araçá-verdadeiro

The araçá tree is native to Brazil and can vary between 3 and 30 feet high. The bark is smooth with some scales; the top is scattered. The
leaves are reddish when young, and the flowers are white with a greenish tint.

The fruit is round, and it can be green, yellow or red in color, depending on the species. The pulp is yellowish-white or reddish, moist,
soft and sticky, aromatic, containing many seeds.

The Araçá plant can be found in the wild from the Guyanas to the northwest area of Brazil (Amazonia). It prefers dry areas and is not
affected by the climate; it is resistant to frost. It is propagated by seeds or grafting. Fruiting in Brazil is from January to May and in the
U.S.A. from June to October.

The fact is that the Araçás and guavas, in the wild, are very similar and pertain to the same family of Myrtaceae, thus their misnomer of Brazilian guava.

The fruit of the Araçá, in general, is more acid than the guava; also, like the guava, the pulp is soft and full of seeds. However, many of the varieties of Araçás have very little pulp, making them of very low economic value.

There exist so many varieties of Araçás: araçá-branco, araçá-cinzento araçá-rosa, araçá-verde, araçá-amarelo; araçá-do-mato, araçá-da-praia, araçá-do-campo, araçá-de-festa; araçá-de-minas. Araçá-pernambuco, araçá-do-pará, etc.

Some of the varieties give fruits that are tasty and are desirable to eat when ripe. Other varieties of fruits are acidic, and their acidity makes
them useful in the preparation of sweet-sour flavors, primarily in the making of the mermelada de araçá which is similar to the guava's
marmalades.

In Brazil the fruit, plant, and leaves are used in folkloric medicinal preparations.

Among the Araçás the most desirable variety is the Araçá-boi (Eugenia stipitata) which is native to Perú and found in the State of Acre in
Brazil. The Araçá-boi is a small tree reaching a maximum height of 9 feet. The fruit color is yellow and their size varies. Some of Araçá-boi
fruits are as large as the guava's (400 grams). The pulp is juicy and delicious in spite of being acid. The Araçá-boi also has been known to be called Brazilian guava.