Family Name: Myrtaceae
Native to: Brazil
Psidium cattleianum is a small tropical evergreen tree that in the same family as the common guava, Psidium guajava. The fleshy fruit of the strawberry guava turn purple or red as the fruit matures; some varieties of Psidium cattleianum have yellow fruit. The fruit is edible and juicy with a strawberry-like flavor. The upper surface of the leaves is dark green and glossy, while the lower surface is whitish green in color and punctuated with small oil cavities that give it aromatic qualities.
Strawberry guava is native to the coastal areas of eastern Brazil, where it is known as “araçá”. However, the tree quickly adapts to a variety of climates and is considered an invasive weed in many tropical areas, particularly Hawaii and the Caribbean islands. The strawberry guava was brought to Hawaii in 1825 for its fruit and ornamental attributes; however, it now threatens Hawaii’s native forests. The strawberry guava grows in monotypic stands that displace native tree species. Psidium cattleianum quickly spreads both by shoots and seeds, with the help of non-native birds and pigs that consume the fruit and spread the seeds to new areas. Restoration efforts are underway in Hawaii to control the growth of P. cattleianum and restore native forest species.