IN THE ARBORETUM TODAY
By Alfredo Chiri
LEMON GUAVA - Psidium cattleianum x lucidum - Myrtaceae
Donated by: CRFG/Daniel and planted in 1983 (r.f.-09)
Common names: Cattley guava, Araza, Guayaba peruana, Yellow strawberry guava, Waiawi, aracá da praia, Cas dulce, Guayaba japonesa, Calcutta guava, purple guava.
This native guava from the lowlands of Brazil is one of the possible 100 species of evergreen shrubs or trees grown in America. In their native Brazil they grow near the coast. Their cultivation is limited to a certain extent to some areas of South America, southern and central Florida and Southern California. In some tropical areas the cattley guava has become naturalized to moist areas, forming dense stands, and is being considered as a "weed tree." In the area of La Mesa, California, this plant has been producing heavily for the last 50 years.
Cattleianum is P. littorale var longipes, while Lucidum is P. Littorale var littorale, indicating that this variety could be a hybrid species.
This type of guava shrub or small tree is fairly slow-growing, ranging from 2-4 meters (6 -12 ft) tall, but some of the yellow-fruited types may attain 40 feet. They have smooth bark, and are rather loosely branched.
The fragrant flowers are white with prominent stamens and are borne in groups of 3's in the leaf axils. The fruit is sulfur-yellow with white flesh somewhat translucent and with many seeds. It is acid when ripe.
The tree is good for reforestation and is adaptable to tropic and subtropics areas. In California it produces fruit in late summer, and
this is primarily canned, preserved, made into jam, relish, and chutney, Its greatest commercial use is for jelly. On a good soil and under irrigation a tree would produce up to 300 pounds.
It reproduces from seeds easily; the seeds are sown in flats or pans of lightly sandy soil and kept there until permanent planting. It also can be propagated from budding, grafting or cutting, but this technique is not too common because of its thin bark.
This type of guava is hardier than the common guava and can survive temperatures as low as 22º F. it can easily survive wherever citrus is grown without artificial heating.
The cattley guava does well in limestone and poor soils. It is shallow-rooted but is fairly drought tolerant and is able to endure
flooding for short periods.
The cattley guava is considered as disease- and pest-free. In California, there are occasional infestations of the greenhouse thrips.