Atlantic Coast of Brazil
Strawberry guava, also called
purple guava and pineapple guava, is a shrub or small tree reaching up to
15 feet in height. It has a smooth trunk and dark green, shiny, egg-shaped
leaves that are arranged oppositely on the stem. The aromatic leaves are
2-4 inches long and 1-2 inches wide. Strawberry guava flowers are white with
numerous stamens (pollen-bearing structures) and the edible purple fruits
are about the size of a golf ball. Some forms of this species have yellow
Strawberry guava is
a very serious, habitat-altering pest in many parks and preserves in Hawaii
where it poses a major threat to Hawaii's rare endemic flora and fauna. It
forms shade-casting thickets with dense mats of surface feeder roots that
make it difficult for other species to coexist. Characteristics that promote
strawberry guava's success as an invader include its prolific fruiting and
aggressive vegetative growth, its tolerance of shade and heavy leaf litter,
and possibly through production of toxic chemicals in its leaves that prevent
the growth of other plant species.
IN THE UNITED STATES
Strawberry guava occurs on the six largest Hawaiian
islands and in subtropical Florida.
HABITAT IN THE UNITED STATES
guava exhibits broad environmental tolerances, occurring in dry to moist
forests, and in tropical and subtropical climates. It occurs in disturbed
areas and along roadsides and may invade undisturbed, intact forests. On
the Hawaiian islands, strawberry guava infests moist, lowland and submontane
forests, usually dominated by ‘ohi'a trees (Metrosideros polymorpha).
In Hawaii, this species is often found in sites disturbed by feral pigs.
Originally introduced to
Hawaii in the early nineteenth century for its edible fruit, strawberry guava
quickly escaped cultivation. It is now widely cultivated and naturalized
outside its native range and is found in many tropical regions of the world.
BIOLOGY & SPREAD
of strawberry guava is by seed and by root sprouts, which allow it to undergo
expansive vegetative reproduction. Strawberry guava produces an abundance
of fruits, the seeds of which are dispersed by birds and feral pigs.
Because of the huge
quantities of seed that are dispersed by feral pigs, another exotic invasive
species, feral pig management is a practical and necessary first step in
strawberry guava management. Pig control must be followed by manual, mechanical,
or chemical control measures. These methods have proven successful when tested
on a small scale. Reinfestation by strawberry guava is low in pig-free, intact
forests. No bioloogical control agents are currently available for management
of strawberry guava.
USE PESTICIDES WISELY: ALWAYS READ THE ENTIRE PESTICIDE LABEL CAREFULLY, FOLLOW ALL MIXING AND APPLICATION INSTRUCTIONS AND WEAR ALL RECOMMENDED PERSONAL PROTECTIVE GEAR AND CLOTHING. CONTACT YOUR STATE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE FOR ANY ADDITIONAL PESTICIDE USE REQUIREMENTS, RESTRICTIONS OR RECOMMENDATIONS.
NOTICE: MENTION OF PESTICIDE PRODUCTS ON THIS WEB SITE DOES NOT CONSTITUTE ENDORSEMENT OF ANY MATERIAL.
For more information on strawberry guava
management, please contact:
- Alyssa Zahorcak, ajzeco96
- Dick Roberts, Florida Park Service, District
5 Admin, 13798 SE Federal Hwy., Hobe Sound, FL 33455
Nancy Benton, The Nature Conservancy, Arlington,VA
Forest & Kim Starr, US Geological Survey,
Gerald D. Carr
Cronk, Q.C.B. and Fuller, J. 1995. Plant Invaders:
the Threat to Natural Ecosystems. Chapman & Hall: London. World Wide
Fund for Nature.
Huenneke, L.F. and P.M. Vitousek. 1989. Seedling
and clonal recruitment of the invasive tree, Psidium cattleianum:
implications for management of native Hawaiian forests. Biological Conservation
Jacobi, J.D. and F.R. Warshauer. 1992. The current
and potential distribution of six introduced plant species in upland habitats
on the island of Hawaii. In C.P. Stone, C.W. Smith, and J.T. Tunison (eds.),
Alien Plant Invasions in Native Ecosystems of Hawai`i: Management and Research.
Univ. Hawaii Coop. Natl. Park Resour. Studies Unit. Univ. Hawaii Press, Honolulu.
Swearingen, J. 2009. WeedUS Database of Plants Invading Natural Areas in the United States: Strawberry Guava (Psidium cattleianum). http://www.invasive.org/weedus/subject.html?sub=6272.
The Nature Conservancy. Strawberry
Guava: Element Stewardship Abstract. In: Wildland Weeds Management & Research
Program, Weeds on the Web.
USDA, NRCS. 2009. The PLANTS Database (http://plants.usda.gov). National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA.
Wagner, W.L., D.R. Herbst and S.H. Sohmer. 1990.
Manual of the flowering plants of Hawaii. University of Hawaii Press and
Bishop Museum Press, Honolulu, Hawaii.
Plant Conservation Alliance, Alien Plant Working Group.