Native to: Central and South America
Strawberry guava has been planted as both an ornamental and crop fruit tree and escaped cultivation across much of the global tropics and subtropics. It is especially damaging in humid rainforests of islands in the pacific and Indian oceans where it reproduces efficiently by seeds and suckers forming dense stands crowding out and endangering native plants. It has also been shown to reduce the freshwater recharge of invaded forests in Hawaii. In Florida it invades forests and open woodlands.
Habit: shrub or small tree that grows up to 8 m high, has gray to reddish-brown bark, and is pubescent.
Leaves: Opposite, simple, entire, glabrous, elliptic to oblong, to 8 cm (3 in) long.
Flowers: To 2.5 cm (1.2 in) wide; borne singly at leaf axils, with white petals and a mass of white and yellow stamens.
Fruit/seeds: A globose berry, 3–6 cm (1.2–2.4 in) long, purple-red, with whitish flesh usually sweet-tasting when ripe; seeds numerous.
Distribution in Florida: South and Central peninsula
Aggressive suckering creates dense stands and animals consume the fruit distributing seeds across the landscape. It forms thickets and shades out native vegetation in forests and open woodlands. Also serves as a major host for the naturalized Caribbean fruit fly, which occasionally spreads to commercial citrus crops.
Do not plant.
Replace with native fruit trees. Except for young seedlings, hand pulling is not feasible due to the strong root system and the presence of suckers.
Mechanical cutting of the stem leads to the development of abundant suckers from the stump and any mechanical control must be associated with chemical control to avoid resprouting.
Basal bark or cut stump: 10% Garlon 4.
Consult your local UF IFAS Extension for further assistance with management recommendations. Additional information can be found in the EDIS Publication Integrated Management of Non-Native Plants in Natural Areas of Florida.