Native to: Mexico and Central and South America
Guava has a long history of movement by humans from indigenous communities to colonizers. The Spanish took it east across the Pacific and the Portuguese took it west to Africa and India. At present it is well distributed and established throughout the tropics and subtropics. In Florida, it was noted as established as early as 1765. Due to its ease of culture, the high nutritional value of the fruit and the popularity of the processed products, guava is important in international trade as well as in the local markets of over 60 tropical and subtropical countries.
Habit: Evergreen shrub or small tree to 9 m (30 ft) tall, with scaly greenish-brown bark and young branches 4-angled, pubescent.
Leaves: Opposite, simple, short-stalked, entire, oval to oblong-elliptic, to 15 cm (6 in) long; pubescent below, with veins impressed above and conspicuously raised below.
Flowers: White, fragrant, to 4 cm (1.6 in) wide; borne singly or a few together at leaf axils; many stamens.
Fruit/Seeds: An oval or pear-shaped berry, 3–10 cm (1–4 in) long, yellow at maturity; with yellow or dark pink flesh some-what dull in taste; seeds numerous.
Distribution in Florida: South and Central Peninsula
Aggressive suckering creates dense stands and animals consume the fruit distributing seeds across the landscape. Guava thickets have serious impacts in forests and open woodlands where they crowd out native plant species and can alter natural regimes. Along with the strawberry guava and the Surinam cherry, it serves as a major host for the naturalized Caribbean fruit fly, which occasionally spreads to commercial citrus crops.
Do not plant.
Replace with native or non-invasive 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.