A plant, a small tree or a tall shrub

A plant, a small tree or a tall shrub

By Lidia Boque Gousgouni
14 Feb 2018
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Acca sellowiana is the botanical name for the Pineapple Guava. Previously known as Feijoa sellowiana this is a relatively tough and hardy plant. The name Feijoa was originally given to the plant in honour of the Portuguese botanist Joao da Silva Feijo. This plant is a native of South American countries including Brazil, Paraguay, Argentina and Uruguay. 

We use this plant for a number of reasons – the main ones being its hedging ability and for the fruit it produces.

The Pineapple Guava is a tall shrub to small tree, reaching about 5 metres in height. It responds well to pruning and can be hedged or trained as an espalier if space is an issue. It is frost tolerant but does need protection from the hot afternoon sun in our region. The Pineapple Guava grows best in a humus-rich soil that’s well-drained.

This plant belongs to the Myrtaceae family which makes it a close relative of Eucalyptus trees, Bottlebrushes and Tea–trees. Even though it’s related to some of our well-known Australian plants it has one aspect that’s different, its fruit. The fruit is not a dry capsule but a green, egg-shaped fleshy fruit with a very sweet taste.  The taste resembles a blend of strawberry with pineapple and it can be eaten fresh, stewed or preserved. I rather like the flesh scooped out and eaten with ice-cream.

The Feijoa produces attractive red flowers during summer and the fruit are produced during autumn and winter. 

If you plant a young Feijoa make sure you water it well during the warm and hot months and ensure the plant is well mulched. Once established the plant requires little care apart from a bit of pruning, it’s important to also be on the lookout for any pests or diseases.

The Feijoa fruit is high in antioxidants, minerals and is a great source of vitamin C and fibre. The fruit is green when ripe but become slightly soft to the touch when they’re ready to eat. You can pick un-ripe fruit – if you pop them into a fruit bowl they will ripen after a couple of days. Ripe fruit should then be stored in a plastic bag in the fridge to help retain their flavour. One a fruit is cut it will begin to turn brown, a bit like an apple.  If you have masses of fruit you can freeze them, you can freeze scooped flesh or the whole fruit can be frozen.

So if you’re after a tall shrub or small tree – give the Acca sellowiana a try, it has nice foliage, decorative flowers and tasty fruit, what a winner!

Diary 

If you’ve been thinking about studying horticulture – Wodonga TAFE has Certificate III in Horticulture timetabled to begin at the end of February 2018. This course runs on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays but you can choose to study part-time if that suits. Why not call into Wodonga TAFE’s horticulture department in University Drive, Wodonga and pick up a timetable for 2018 or you can see the details and apply online at;

https://www.wodongatafe.edu.au/courses/AHC30716/Certificate-III-in-Horticulture

 

Photo 

The flower on the Pineapple Guava, there is a bit of similarity to the flower on a Eucalyptus.


Written by

Deborah Delahunty, Horticulture Teacher at Wodonga TAFE.