42 Feijoa sellowianaCommon Names: feijoa, pineapple guava Family: Myrtaceae (myrtle Family)
The feijoa (pronounced fah-joe-ah) is a slow-growing, multistemmed evergreen shrub. It can be trained to a small tree with a single trunk, espaliered, or pruned to form a dense hedge or screen. Without any pruning, the shrub may reach 15 ft (4.6 m) high and 15 ft (4.6 m) across. The egg-shaped leaves are 2-3 in (5-7.6 cm) long and silvery underneath. The unusual flowers are edible and very attractive and are sometimes seen gracing salads in fancy restaurants. They are about 1 in (2.5 cm) across with fleshy white petals, showy scarlet stamens and borne on the current year's growth. The edible fruits are round or egg-shaped, 1-3 in (2.5-7.6 cm) long. The feijoas, as the fruits are also called, have waxy blue-green or gray-green skins around a juicy greenish white pulp.
The feijoa is native to subtropical Paraguay, Uruguay, northern Argentina and southern Brazil.
CultureFeijoa is adaptable to most types of soil and doesn't require much fertilizer. Light: Full sun to part shade. Moisture: Thrives with little care in most well-drained soils. Usually doesnt need supplemental watering except in very dry climates. Hardiness: USDA Zones 8 - 10. Feijoa is hardy to 10º F (-12º C) and does best where the winters are cool and the summers moderate with temperatures between 80-90º F (26-32º C). To produce fruit, feijoas need 100-200 chilling hours below 45º F (7º C). Heat stress in the summer may cause them to drop fruit prematurely. Propagation: Feijoas are best propagated by cuttings or grafting from known cultivars. Seedlings grow slowly and may not produce quality fruit.
Feijoas respond well to pruning and can easily be shaped to any desired form. They make an excellent hedge. The sweet, fleshy white and purplish flower petals can be added to salads. Pluck them carefully and the fruits will still develop. The fruits have a delicious minty-pineapple flavor. Cut them in half and scoop out the pulp with a spoon. They will drop when ripe, but you can pick them sooner and let them ripen in the kitchen.
Feijoas are not only attractive during all seasons, they are a most versatile plant. They rarely have any disease or pest problems. This is a good low maintenance shrub for hot dry problem areas. If you are interested in fruit production purchase cultivars selected for fruit quality, climate, time of ripening and ability to self-pollinate (some cultivars can, some can't and some can but with reduced quantity and quality of fruit).
It appears that the feijoa is suffering a name change. Although in virtually every publication you read, this plant is Feijoa sellowiana but now it seems to officially be Acca sellowiana.
Jack Scheper 5/6/03, 10/10/03