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Products > Feijoa sellowiana
 
Feijoa sellowiana - Pineapple Guava
   
Image of Feijoa sellowiana
 
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Shrub
Family: Myrtaceae (Myrtles)
Origin: Brazil (South America)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: Pink
Bloomtime: Spring/Summer
Synonyms: [Acca 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
Feijoa sellowiana (Pineapple Guava) - A small evergreen tree or large shrub that slowly 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 green oval shaped leaves that have a silvery-white underside but with leaves held upright along vertical stems the plant looks distinctly a silvery-grey color. 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 18° F that were experienced in December 1990 and we 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.

Feijoa sellowiana grows naturally from the highlands of Southern Brazil through Eastern Paraguay, Uruguay, Northern Argentina and Columbia. It was long called Feijoa sellowiana in the horticultural trades, but it was determined that this name had been incorrectly applied since 1941. The German botanist Otto Karl Berg (1816-1866) described this plant as Feijoa sellowiana in 1859, 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. This renaming was overlooked by many who continued to call this plant Feijoa sellowiana. Fortunately for those that never noted the name change, 78 years after this plant was renamed Acca sellowiana, in a 2019 paper in Systematic Botany titled "A New Subtribal Classification of Tribe Myrteae (Myrtaceae)" (Vol. 44, N. 3 pp 560-569) the case was made that Acca sellowiana was not closely related to Acca lanuginosa, the type species of the genus, and the name Feijoa sellowiana was reinstated. The name for the genus honors Joćo da Silva Feijó (1760-1824), a Portuguese naturalist born in Brazil. The specific epithet "sellowiana" honors Friedrich Sello (Sellow) (1789-1831) a German botanist who collected in South America.

The introduction into the U.S. is credited to Dr. Francesco Franceschi (AKA Emanuele Orazio Fenzi), an Italian botanist who came to Santa Barbara in 1895 and documented all introduced plants growing here at that time and then introduced many more during the nearly 20 years he lived here. 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 have a beautiful long hedge along San Simeon Drive on the north edge of the nursery that was planted in 1983 and a large 15 tall by as wide specimen planted in front our production office that has variegated foliage. 

This information about Feijoa sellowiana displayed is based on research conducted in our horticultural library and from reliable online resources. We also will relate observations made about it as it grows in our nursery gardens and other gardens we have visited, as well how the crops have performed in containers in our nursery field. We will also incorporate comments that we receive from others and we welcome hearing from anyone with additional information, particularly if they can share any cultural information that would aid others in growing it.