Guava (/ˈɡwɑːvə/)[1] is a common tropical fruit cultivated in many tropical and subtropical regions.[2] Psidium guajava (common guava, lemon guava) is a small tree in the myrtle family (Myrtaceae), native to Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean and northern South America.[2] Although related species may also be called guavas, they belong to other species or genera, such as the pineapple guava, Acca sellowiana. In 2016, India was the largest producer of guavas, with 41% of the world total.

Guavas, common
Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy285 kJ (68 kcal)
14.32 g
Sugars8.92 g
Dietary fiber5.4 g
0.95 g
2.55 g
VitaminsQuantity %DV
Vitamin A equiv.
31 μg
374 μg
Thiamine (B1)
0.067 mg
Riboflavin (B2)
0.04 mg
Niacin (B3)
1.084 mg
Pantothenic acid (B5)
0.451 mg
Vitamin B6
0.11 mg
Folate (B9)
49 μg
Vitamin C
228.3 mg
Vitamin K
2.2 μg
MineralsQuantity %DV
18 mg
0.26 mg
22 mg
0.15 mg
40 mg
417 mg
2 mg
0.23 mg
Other constituentsQuantity
Lycopene5204 µg

Percentages are roughly approximated using US recommendations for adults.
Source: USDA Nutrient Database


The most frequently eaten species, and the one often simply referred to as "the guava", is the apple guava (Psidium guajava). Guavas are typical Myrtoideae, with tough dark leaves that are opposite, simple, elliptic to ovate and 5–15 centimetres (2.0–5.9 in) long. The flowers are white, with five petals and numerous stamens. The fruits are many-seeded berries.[3]


The term guava appears to have been derived from Arawak guayabo 'guava tree', via the Spanish guayaba. It has been adapted in many European and Asian languages, having a similar form.[2]

Origin and distribution

Guavas originated from an area thought to extend from Mexico or Central America and were distributed throughout tropical America and the Caribbean region.[2][4] They were adopted as a crop in subtropical and tropical Asia, the southern United States (from Tennessee and North Carolina south, as well as the west and Hawaii), tropical Africa, South Asia, Southeast Asia, and Oceania.[4] Guavas are now cultivated in many tropical and subtropical countries.[2][4] Several species are grown commercially; apple guava and its cultivars are those most commonly traded internationally.[2] Guavas also grow in southwestern Europe, specifically the Costa del Sol on Málaga, (Spain) and Greece where guavas have been commercially grown since the middle of the 20th century and they proliferate as cultivars.[4]

Mature trees of most species are fairly cold-hardy and can survive temperatures slightly colder than 25 °F (−4 °C) for short periods of time, but younger plants will likely freeze to the ground.[5]

Guavas were introduced to Florida in the 19th century[2] and are now grown in Florida as far north as Sarasota, Chipley, Waldo and Fort Pierce. However, they are a primary host of the Caribbean fruit fly and must be protected against infestation in areas of Florida where this pest is present.[6]

Guavas are of interest to home growers in subtropical areas as one of the few tropical fruits that can grow to fruiting size in pots indoors. When grown from seed, guavas bear fruit as soon as two years and as long as 40 years.[2]


Psidium species are used as food plants by the caterpillars of some Lepidoptera, mainly moths like the Ello Sphinx (Erinnyis ello), Eupseudosoma aberrans, E. involutum, and Hypercompe icasia. Mites, like Pronematus pruni and Tydeus munsteri, are known to be crop pests of the apple guava (P. guajava) and perhaps other species.[2] The bacterium Erwinia psidii causes rot diseases of the apple guava.

Although the fruit is cultivated and favored by humans, many animals and birds consume it, readily dispersing the seeds in their droppings and, in Hawaii, strawberry guava (P. littorale) has become an aggressive invasive species threatening extinction to more than 100 other plant species.[7][8] By contrast, several guava species have become rare due to habitat destruction and at least one (Jamaican guava, P. dumetorum), is already extinct.

Guava wood is used for meat smoking in Hawaii and is used at barbecue competitions across the United States. In Cuba and Mexico, the leaves are used in barbecues.


Guava fruits, usually 4 to 12 centimetres (1.6 to 4.7 in) long, are round or oval depending on the species.[2] They have a pronounced and typical fragrance, similar to lemon rind but less sharp. The outer skin may be rough, often with a bitter taste, or soft and sweet. Varying between species, the skin can be any thickness, is usually green before maturity, but may be yellow, maroon, or green when ripe. The pulp inside may be sweet or sour and off-white ("white" guavas) to deep pink ("red" guavas). The seeds in the central pulp vary in number and hardness, depending on species.

Guava production – 2019
Country millions of tonnes
Source: Tridge Global Trade Platform[9]


In 2019, world production of guavas was 46.5 million tonnes, led by India with 41% of the total (table). Other major producers were China (10%) and Thailand (7%).[9]

Culinary uses

In Mexico and other Latin American countries, the guava-based beverage agua fresca is popular. The entire fruit is a key ingredient in punch, and the juice is often used in culinary sauces (hot or cold), ales, candies, dried snacks, fruit bars, and desserts, or dipped in chamoy. Pulque de guava is a popular alcoholic beverage in these regions.

In many countries, guava is eaten raw, typically cut into quarters or eaten like an apple, whereas in other countries it is eaten with a pinch of salt and pepper, cayenne powder or a mix of spices (masala). It is known as the winter national fruit of Pakistan. In the Philippines, ripe guava is used in cooking sinigang. Guava is a popular snack in Taiwan, sold on many street corners and night markets during hot weather, accompanied by packets of dried plum powder mixed with sugar and salt for dipping. In east Asia, guava is commonly eaten with sweet and sour dried plum powder mixtures. Guava juice is popular in many countries. The fruit is also often included in fruit salads.

Because of its high level of pectin, guavas are extensively used to make candies, preserves, jellies, jams, and marmalades (such as Brazilian goiabada and Colombian and Venezuelan bocadillo), and as a marmalade jam served on toast.[2]

Red guavas can be used as the base of salted products such as sauces, substituting for tomatoes, especially to minimize acidity. A drink may be made from an infusion of guava fruits and leaves, which in Brazil is called chá-de-goiabeira, i.e., "tea" of guava tree leaves, considered medicinal.



Guavas are rich in dietary fiber and vitamin C, with moderate levels of folic acid (nutrition table). Low in calories per typical serving, and with few essential nutrients, a single common guava (P. guajava) fruit contains 257% of the Daily Value (DV) for vitamin C (table).[10] Nutrient content varies across guava cultivars. Although the strawberry guava (P. littorale var. cattleianum) has only 39% of the vitamin C in common varieties, its content in a 100 gram serving (90 mg) still provides 100% of the DV.[11]


Guava leaves contain both carotenoids and polyphenols like (+)-gallocatechin and leucocyanidin.[12] As some of these phytochemicals produce the fruit skin and flesh color, guavas that are red-orange tend to have more polyphenol and carotenoid content than yellow-green ones.

Guava seed oil

Possibly used for culinary or cosmetics products, guava seed oil is a source of beta carotene, vitamin A, vitamin C, copper, zinc and selenium.

The composition of fatty acids in guava seed oil is presented in the following table, showing that the oil is particularly rich in linoleic acid.[13]

Lauric acid<1.5%
Myristic acid<1.0%
Palmitic acid8-10%
Stearic acid5-7%
Oleic acid8-12%
Linoleic acid65-75%
Saturated fats, total14%
Unsaturated fats, total86%

Folk medicine

Since the 1950s, guavas – particularly the leaves – have been studied for their constituents, potential biological properties and history in folk medicine.[14]


Guavas are one of the most common hosts for fruit flies like A. suspensa, which will lay their eggs in overripe or spoiled guavas. The larvae of these flies then consume the fruit in order to gain nutrients until they can proceed into the pupa stage.[15] This parasitism has led to millions in economic losses for nations in Central America.[16]


  1. "Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus". Cambridge University Press. Retrieved 20 August 2012.
  2. Morton JF (1987). "Guava". Fruits of Warm Climates. Purdue University. pp. 356–363. Retrieved 24 April 2015.
  3. Judd, WS; Campbell, CS; Kellogg, EA; Stevens, PF; Donoghue, MJ (2002). Plant systematics, a phylogenetic approach. Sinauer Associates, Inc. pp. 398–399. ISBN 0878934030.
  4. "Psidium guajava (guava)". CABI: Invasive Species Compendium. 2017. Retrieved 9 October 2017.
  5. Sauls JW (December 1998). "Home fruit production – Guava". Texas A&M Horticulture Program. Retrieved 2012-04-17.
  6. Boning, Charles R. (2006). Florida's Best Fruiting Plants: Native and Exotic Trees, Shrubs, and Vines. Sarasota, Florida: Pineapple Press, Inc. p. 99. ISBN 1-56164-372-6.
  7. Price J (14 June 2008). "Strawberry guava's hold has proven devastating". Honolulu Star Bulletin. Retrieved 7 December 2014.
  8. "Leveling the Playing Field in Hawai'i's Native Forests" (PDF). Conservation Council for Hawai‘i. 2010. Retrieved 7 December 2014.
  9. "Top Producing Countries of Guava". Tridge. 2016. Retrieved 2 April 2019.
  10. "Nutrition facts for common guava". Retrieved August 17, 2010.
  11. "Nutrition facts for strawberry guava". Retrieved August 17, 2010.
  12. Seshadri TR, Vasishta K (1965). "Polyphenols of the leaves of psidium guava—quercetin, guaijaverin, leucocyanidin and amritoside". Phytochemistry. 4 (6): 989–92. doi:10.1016/S0031-9422(00)86281-0.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  13. Kobori CN, Jorge N (2005). "Characterization of some seed oils from fruits for utilization of industrial residues (in Spanish)" (PDF). Ciênc Agrotec. 29 (5): 108–14.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  14. de Boer HJ, Cotingting C (2014). "Medicinal plants for women's healthcare in southeast Asia: a meta-analysis of their traditional use, chemical constituents, and pharmacology". J Ethnopharmacol. 151 (2): 747–67. doi:10.1016/j.jep.2013.11.030. PMID 24269772.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  15. van Whervin, L. Walter (1974-03-01). "Some Fruitflies (Tephritidae) in Jamaica". PANS Pest Articles & News Summaries. 20 (1): 11–19. doi:10.1080/09670877409412331. ISSN 0030-7793.
  16. Baranowski, Richard; Glenn, Holly; Sivinski, John (1993-06-01). "Biological Control of the Caribbean Fruit Fly (Diptera: Tephritidae)". The Florida Entomologist. 76 (2): 245. doi:10.2307/3495721. ISSN 0015-4040. JSTOR 3495721.
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