Sunday, May 1, 2011

guava cultivation

Guava cultivation


        Guavas are plants in the myrtle family (Myrtaceae) genus Psidium (meaning "pomegranate" in Latin),which contains about 100 species of tropical shrubs and small trees. They are native to Mexico, Central America, and northern South America. Guavas are now cultivated and naturalized throughout the tropics and subtropics in Southeast Asia, Hawaii, the Caribbean, Florida and Africa.Contents
1 Types
2 Common names
3 Ecology and uses
3.1 Cultivation for fruit
3.1.1 Guava fruit
3.2 Culinary uses
3.3 Nutritional value
3.4 Potential medical uses
4 Selected species
4.1 Formerly placed here
5 See also
6 Footnotes
7 References
8 External links


Types

The most frequently encountered species, and the one often simply referred to as "the guava", is the Apple Guava (Psidium guajava)

Guavas are typical Myrtoideae, with tough dark leaves that are opposite, simple, elliptic to ovate and 5–15 cm long. The flowers are white, with five petals and numerous stamens.

The genera Accara and Feijoa (= Acca, Pineapple Guava) were formerly included in Psidium.

Common names

bengal guava-flower

The term "guava" appears to derive from Arawak guayabo "guava tree", via the Spanish guayaba. It has been adapted in many European languages: guava (Romanian, Swedish, Danish and Norwegian, also Greek Γκουάβα and Russian Гуава), Guave (Dutch and German), goyave (French), gujawa (Polish), goiaba (Portuguese)



Outside of Europe, the Arabic jwafa, the Japanese guaba , the Tamil "koiyaa" , the Tongan kuava and probably also the Tagalog bayabas are ultimately derived from the Arawak term.

Another term for guavas is pera or variants thereof. It is common around the western Indian Ocean and probably derives from Spanish or Portuguese, which means "pear", or from some language of southern India, though it is so widespread in the region that its origin cannot be clearly discerned any more. Pera itself is used in Malayalam, Sinhala and Swahili. In Marathi it is peru, in Bengali pearah , in Kannada it is pearaley,  and in Dhivehi feyru. In Telugu language it is "Jama kaya".

Additional terms for guavas from their native range are, for example, sawintu (Quechua) and xālxocotl (Nāhuatl)

Ecology and uses

Apple Guava (Psidium guajava) flower

Psidium species are used as food plants by the caterpillars of some Lepidoptera, mainly moths like the Ello Sphinx (Erinnyis ello), Eupseudosoma aberrans, E. involutum, and Hypercompe icasia. Mites like Pronematus pruni and Tydeus munsteri are known to parasitize the Apple Guava (P. guajava) and perhaps other species. The bacterium Erwinia psidii causes rot diseases of the Apple Guava.

The fruit are not only relished by humans, but by many mammals and birds as well. The spread of introduced guavas owes much to this fact, as animals will eat the fruit and disperse the seeds in their droppings.

In several tropical regions, including Hawaii, some species (namely Strawberry Guava, P. littorale, and to a lesser extent Apple Guava Psidium guajava) have become invasive species. On the other hand, several species have become very rare due to habitat destruction and at least one (Jamaican Guava, P. dumetorum), is already extinct.

Guava wood is used for meat smoking in Hawaii and is being used at barbecue competitions across the United States. In Cuba the leaves are also used in barbecues, providing a smoked flavor and scent to the meat.

A full size guava tree in Oaxaca, Mexico.

Cultivation for fruit

Guavas are cultivated in many tropical and subtropical countries for their edible fruit. Several species are grown commercially; apple guava (P. guajava) and its cultivars are those most commonly traded internationally.

Psidium guajava 1-year seedling

Mature trees of most species are fairly cold-hardy and can survive as low as 5 °C (41 °F) for short periods of time, but younger plants will not survive. They are known to survive in Northern Pakistan where they can get down to 5°C or lower during the night. A few species - notably strawberry guavas - can survive temperatures several degrees below freezing for short periods of time.

Strawberry guava, 1 year old seedling

Guavas are also of interest to home growers in temperate areas, being one of the few tropical fruits that can grow to fruiting size in pots indoors. When grown from seed, guavas can bloom and bear fruit as soon as two years, or as long as eight years.

Guava fruit

Guava fruit, usually 4 to 12 cm long, are round or oval depending on the species. The outer skin may be rough, often with a bitter taste, or soft and sweet. Varying between species, the skin can be any thickness, is usually green before maturity, but becomes yellow, maroon, or green when ripe.

Guava fruit generally have a pronounced and typical fragrance, similar to lemon rind but less sharp. Guava pulp may be sweet or sour, off-white ("white" guavas) to deep pink ("red" guavas), with the seeds in the central pulp of variable number and hardness, depending on species.

Guavas in Larkana, Pakistan

Culinary uses

In Hawaii, guava fruit is eaten with soy sauce and vinegar. Occasionally, a pinch of sugar and black pepper are added to the soy sauce and vinegar mixture. The guava fruit is cut up and dipped into the sauce.

In Pakistan and India, guava fruit is often eaten raw, typically cut into quarters with a pinch of salt and pepper and sometimes cayenne powder/masala. Street vendors often sell guava fruit for a couple of rupees each.

The fruit is also often prepared as a dessert, in fruit salads. In Asia, fresh guava slices are often dipped in preserved prune powder or salt. In India it is often sprinkled with red rock salt, which is very tart.

Because of the high level of pectin, guavas are extensively used to make candies, preserves, jellies, jams, marmalades (Brazilian goiabada), and also for juices and aguas frescas.

Guava juice is very popular in Hawaii, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Colombia, Venezuela, Egypt, Mexico, and South Africa.

"Red" guavas can be used as the base of salted products such as sauces, substituting for tomatoes, especially for those sensitive to the latter's acidity. In Asia, a drink is made from an infusion of guava fruits and leaves. In Brazil, the infusion made with guava tree leaves (chá-de-goiabeira, i.e. "tea" of guava tree leaves) is considered medicinal.

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