Psidium Guajava Taxonomy, Description & Medicinal Uses
Psidium guajava also known as guava is an evergreen tree. It is a shrubby evergreen tree up to 10 meters in height. The stem is hard, woody and reddish brown in color. The bark scales off. It bears white flowers and numerous pear-shaped fruits that are edible by animals, birds, and humans. It is a shrub-like small tree that spreads by branching in various directions. It is a shady tree and provides shelter to many birds and insects. It is cultivated for its fruits and shade purposes.
The whole fruit of this plant is edible. The fruit can be eaten raw or even cooked. Fruits are sliced and used as salads or desserts. Beverages are also prepared from the pulp of the fruit. Many varieties of delicacies such as jam, guava paste, guava cheese are produced from the fruit. The leaves are also edible and have medicinal properties.
The fruit is rich in vitamin A and vitamin C. It is used as medicine for various diseases. Leaves and bark are also used to prepare a medicine that helps to treat disorders of the digestive system and menstrual problems. The extract of leaves is anti-bacterial, anti-fungal in nature. Leaves are also effective against antibiotic-resistant bacterial species. The leaves are also used to treat the diseases of the blood and immune system.
|Botanical Name||Psidium guajava|
|Legal Status||The plant is weedy and invasive in nature.|
Synonyms & Vernacular Names
|Botanical Name||Psidium guajava L.|
|English Name||Guava, Abas, Govavier, Kautonga, Kuahpa|
|Sanskrit Name||Amratafalam, Perala|
|Chinese Name||fan shi liu|
|Italian Name||Guaia giallo; Pero del India|
|Spanish name||Guayaba, Guyava, Guayabo, Guayabero, guayabita|
|French name||Goyave, Goyavier, Gouyave|
|Portuguese name||Goiaba; Goiabero; Guiaiva|
|Tamil name||Segapu, Koyyo, Koyapalam|
|Telugu name||Goya-pandu, Jam-pandu, Jama|
Psidium guajava tree is a small shrub-like tree up to 10 m in height. It is a shady tree with white and scented flowers. It is cultivated for its fruit and medicinal uses.
Psidium Guajava Plant Taxonomy
|Infrakingdom||STREPTOPHYTA (Land Plants)|
|Division||TRACHEOPHYTA (TRACHEOPHYTES or Vascular Plants)|
|Genus||Pisidium L. -guava|
|Species||Psidium guajava L. – guava|
Psidium Guajava Plant Description
|Type of Plant||Perennial|
|Native Range (Geographic Distribution)||It is native to tropical America extending from southern Mexico to South America. Currently, it is cultivated throughout the tropical and subtropical regions.|
|Height (grows up to)||10 m|
|Habitat (a type of environment) – The type of environment in which an organism or group normally lives or occurs.||Psidium guajava tree grows in both humid and dry climates. It grows on any type of soil such as heavy clay soil, light sandy soil, etc. It cannot tolerate temperature less than 15°C and intense daytime heat.|
|Roots||Roots are shallow.|
|Stem||The stem is woody and thick. The bark is smooth and reddish brown in color. Barks peel off as flakes.|
|Leaves||Leaves are simple, opposite and (5-15) cm in length and (4-6) cm in width. They are dull grey to yellow-green in color and have a short petiole. They are oblong to elliptical in shape with an entire margin. The veins are prominent, and glands are dotted.|
|Flowers||Flowers are hermaphrodite, in the form of inflorescence born on the pedicel 2 cm long. Calyx white in color and irregularly split into 2-4 lobes. Petals are 4-5 in numbers, white in color and delicate. Stamen filaments are pale white in color, 12 mm in length, delicate and numerous. The ovary is inferior with numerous ovules. Stigma is green in color and capitate.|
|Fruits||The fruits are pear-shaped, 4-12 cm long, berry type. The fruits are green in color but yellow when ripe. Some have white pulp while some have red. The pulp is juicy and creamy.|
|Seeds||The fruit has numerous seeds. The seeds are scattered in the pulp, cream colored and kidney-shaped.|
|Spread||The tree spreads in all directions and provides shade.|
|Bloom Time||May and June|
|Bloom Description||Flowers bloom in May and June while the fruits are formed in the winter season.|
|Sun||The plant prefers full sunlight to grow and can grow in semi-shade region also.|
|Water||It grows in well-drained soil.|
|Maintenance||The Psidium guajava tree and fruits are susceptible to many pests and thus require maintenance. The plant should be pruned in every two years.|
|Suggested Use||Fruits are edible. Leaves and bark have medicinal properties.|
|Flower||Flowers have fragrance, but no use is known.|
|Leaf||The leaves are used for dyeing and tanning. These are also used as medicines.|
|Attracts||Flowers attract bees that collect juicy nectars.|
|Tolerate||It is salt-tolerant, wet tolerant and drought-tolerant. It can tolerate a pH ranging from 4.5 to 9.4.|
|Invasive Potential||It is a fast-growing plant that grows on a wide range of environmental conditions such as soil pH, temperature, humidity, etc. It is invasive in nature and displaces the native vegetation. It is also considered as an invasive weed.|
|Growing Season||Spring season|
Psidium guajava plant flowers within first two years of its growth under suitable environmental conditions. The plant becomes a tree in 5-8 years depending upon the environmental conditions and space provided for its growth. It can live for not more than 40 years.
Distribution & Ecology
Psidium guajava is a native of tropical America and is found on a variety of soil. It needs full or partial sunlight for growth. It is a fruit yielding plant and cultivated for its fruit and medicinal properties.
This plant provides shelter to many birds and insects. The fruits are food for these birds and insects. The white colored flowers also attract insects and bees for nectar and pollination.
Psidium guajava fruit (Guava) is an ethnomedicine. It has special importance in the traditional system of medicine. In Indian Ayurveda, it is considered as an important herbal medicine for dysentery and diarrhea. In Traditional Chinese Medicine system, it is used to treat many diseases. It has been used since ages to improve the health of humans.
Seed propagation can also be a way for propagation but it is a slow process. Cutting and grafting the stem are the ideal methods for propagation of the plant.
Psidium guajava plant is full of medicinal values. Many parts of this plant possess the medicinal properties. Fruits, seeds, and leaves are the edible parts of this plant. Many delicacies are produced from the fruit and can be eaten raw too. Leaves are also used in cooking and seeds are used for oil extraction.
Medicinal Uses of Psidium Guajava
Psidium guajava plant has many medicinal properties. It has antibacterial and anti-fungal properties. Leaves act as astringent, anti-inflammatory, and antiseptic. Tea made from the leaves are used to treat dysentery, diarrhea, etc. Leaves can be chewed raw to get rid of gum and teeth problems. Leaf paste can be applied to the fresh wound as it is anti-bacterial and antiseptic in nature. It is also used to treat a common cough and cold, gonorrhea, stomach ache and skin problems. Leaves are also hepatoprotective and used to treat liver injury due to medicines.
The decoction made from the bark of this plant is also used against ringworms, ulcers, diarrhea, and dysentery. The oil extracted from seeds possesses anti-inflammatory activity.
Psidium guajava fruits (Guava) are rich in vitamin A and C, flavonoids, essential oils, polyphenols, etc. These phytochemicals make the fruit a healthy choice of food that improves the health.
All parts of this plant have medicinal uses. The plant parts have hepatoprotective, antioxidant, anti-diabetic, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, analgesic and anti-cancer properties.
The phytochemicals found in Psidium guajava plant make it an important herbal medicinal plant that has the property to enhance the quality of life.
- Stem bark
- Leaves and leaves are used for dyeing
- Wood is used for making fence posts, furniture and firewood.
- Leaves act as insect repellents.
- It is a backyard tree.
- It provides shade.
Photo Attribution Forest & Kim Starr