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Psidium cattleyanum

Description
 

Cherry Guava (Psidium cattleyanum) is a shrub or small tree growing to 10 m high. All parts of the plant are virtually hairless, except for new growth which is often finely hairy. The leaves are opposite, glossy green and somewhat thick and leathery, egg-shaped and broader towards the tip, and mostly 4-7 cm long and 2.5-4 cm wide, with conspicuous stalks 4-15 mm long. The flowers are about 10 mm long and wide, white, and borne singly at the junctions of leaf and branchlet. The four or five petals are broad and widely spreading. The stamens are very numerous and shorter than the petals. The flowers are followed by fleshy fruits. At maturity, the fruits are globose (spherical), or nearly so, and 25-35 mm long, with a persistent calyx (the collective term for the leaf-like structures, sepals, surrounding the petals/fruit) at the end opposite the stalk. The fruits are purplish-red, rarely yellow, and contain numerous seeds (Green 1994).

For further information or assistance with the identification of Cherry Guava, contact the herbarium in your state or territory.

Distribution:

Cherry Guava is sporadically naturalised in coastal areas of Queensland and northern New South Wales. It is also naturalised on Lord Howe Island, Norfolk Island and Christmas Island (Navie 2004; Queensland Herbarium 2008).

Habit:

Tree, Shrub

Key points:
  • Cherry Guava (Psidium cattleyanum) is a shrub or small tree with bright green opposite leaves, fluffy white flowers, and purple-red fruits.
  • It is found in tropical to subtropical areas of north-eastern Australia, and on Lord Howe, Norfolk and Christmas Islands.
  • The fruits are edible and are attractive to birds and mammals which disperse the seeds.
  • Cherry Guava is shade tolerant and able to invade intact forest.
  • It is an important environmental weed in parts of the Pacific region.
How it spreads:

The seeds of Cherry Guava are eaten and dispersed by cattle and birds. Feral pigs are also an important dispersal agent in some countries (Green 1994; GISD 2008).

Where it grows:

Cherry Guava prefers open disturbed habitats in or near open forest or rainforest, usually where annual rainfall exceeds 1500 mm. Soil type does not appear to be important (Queensland Herbarium 2008).

Flower colour:White
Distribution map:

Australia's Virtual Herbarium (2008). Available at http://www.cpbr.gov.au/cgi-bin/avh.cgi 

Impacts:

Cherry Guava is a robust environmental weed because it is tolerant of shady conditions and the fruits are attractive to both birds and mammals. It is a very serious weed in Hawaii and on Norfolk Island and it may affect the structure and composition of forests (GISD 2008).

Origin:

Cherry Guava originated in Brazil and Uruguay (GRIN 2008).

History:

Species of Psidium are widely grown for their edible fruit, and Cherry Guava was undoubtedly introduced for that purpose (Stanley & Ross 1986; Green 1994).

Cherry Guava first became naturalised in Australia in the 1890s, when it was recorded as a naturalised plant on the Daintree River, Queensland (Queensland Herbarium 2008).

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This database is designed to provide information, including biological and ecological, on invasive plant species that are on a national weed list, or are legislated against in a state or territory. While reasonable efforts have been made to ensure the accuracy of the information, no guarantee is given, nor responsibility taken, by the Commonwealth for its accuracy, currency or completeness. The Commonwealth does not accept any responsibility for any loss or damage that may be occasioned directly or indirectly through the use of, or reliance on, the information contained in this database. The information contained in this database does not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth. This database is not intended to be a complete source of information on the matters it deals with. For further information on the images contained in the database please contact the copyright owner. All images in the weed identification tool are managed by the Australian Plant Image Index (APII). Various copyright conditions apply for these images. For further information on the copyright conditions of images contained in the database please contact the APII at: photo@anbg.gov.au.