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Products > Acca sellowiana
Acca sellowiana - Pineapple Guava
Image of Acca sellowiana
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Shrub
Family: Myrtaceae (Myrtles)
Origin: Brazil (South America)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: Pink
Bloomtime: Spring/Summer
Synonyms: [Feijoa sellowiana, Orthostemon sellowiana]
Height: 12-20 feet
Width: 10-15 feet
Exposure: Full Sun
Seaside: Yes
Summer Dry: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 20-25° F
Acca sellowiana (Pineapple Guava) - A small evergreen tree or large shrub that reaches 16-25 feet tall to nearly as wide but is generally seen as in the range of 8 to 12 feet tall. It produces oval shaped leaves that have a silvery-white underside. In late spring to early summer appear the showy flowers with the inside of the fleshy edible flower petals a shiny pink while the outside of the petals are white. The pineapple-flavored pulpy 2 inch long oval fruit is produced three to four months after the flowers. Plant in full sun and give occasional to moderate water irrigation. It is hardy without any damage to at least 18 ° F and can tolerate short durations temperatures below this. A hedge of this plant along the north fence line of our nursery was undamaged during short duration temperatures down to the 18° F that were experienced in December 1990 and had a gardener in Birmingham Alabama tell us that his plants survived low temperatures as low as 6° F with sustained temperatures below 20° F. This plant grows from the highlands of Southern Brazil through Eastern Paraguay, Uruguay, Northern Argentina and Columbia and has long been called Feijoa sellowiana in the horticultural trades but this name has been incorrectly applied since 1941. The German botanist Otto Karl Berg (1816-1866) described this plant as Feijoa sellowiana in 1859, naming the genus after João da Silva Feijó (1760-1824), a Portuguese naturalist born in Brazil. However three years prior to this, in 1856, Berg had given the name Acca domingensis to another South American plant in the Myrtaceae. In 1941 Karl Ewald Maximilian Burret (1883-1964), a German research botanist combined these two genera, so the older genus name took precedence and the valid name of this plant became Acca sellowiana. The derivation of the genus name Acca is often cited as from an ancient Hebrew word meaning "hot sand", though how this related to this plant was a mystery. More likely this name is in reference to a vernacular (common) name as "Acca" or "Aka" was cited as being used for these purposes to describe a Peruvian guava, Psidium macrostemon, that was described by Hipólito Ruiz López and José Antonio Pavón in 1832. This plant was also reclassified in 1956 by the American botanist Rogers McVaugh, and it too is now included in this same genus as Acca macrostema with Acca domingensis considered to a synonym of it. Our thanks go out to David Hollombe for pointing out the connection that he found in the 1954 publication Flora Peruviana et Chilensis. The specific epithet "sellowiana" honors Friedrich Sello (Sellow) (1789-1831) a German botanist who collected in South America. Its introduction to the U.S. is credited to Dr. Franceschi, an Italian botanist living in Santa Barbara. Here in the US it is commonly called Pineapple Guava but, since it is cultivated worldwide, it has obtained other names such as Feijoa, Brazilian Guava, Fig Guava, Guavasteen, New Zealand Banana and Guaybo del Pais. We have grown this wonderful plant since 1980 and we have a beautiful long hedge of it the property and a large variegated specimen planted in front our production office.  This information is based on research conducted about this plant in our nursery library and from reliable online sources. We also take into consideration observations of it in our nursery of crops, as well as of plants growing in the nursery's garden and those in other gardens we have visited. We will incorporate comments received from others and welcome getting feedback from anyone who may have additional information, particularly if it includes cultural information that would aid others in growing Acca sellowiana.