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Feijoa sellowiana is a species of flowering plant in the myrtle family, Myrtaceae. It is native to the highlands of southern Brazil, eastern Paraguay, Uruguay, northern Argentina, and Colombia. It is widely cultivated as an ornamental tree and for its fruit. Common names include feijoa (//, /-/, or //), pineapple guava and guavasteen, although it is not a true guava. It is an evergreen shrub or small tree, 1–7 metres (3.3–23.0 ft) in height.
Acca sellowiana (O.Berg) Burret
Feijoa sellowiana Berg is from the genus which the German botanist, Ernst Berger, named after João da Silva Feijó, a Portuguese naturalist, and the specific name honors Friedrich Sellow, a German who first collected specimens of feijoa in southern Brazil. It has been nicknamed "pineapple guava", "Brazilian guava", "fig guava" or "guavasteen" among different countries.
The fruit, known as feijoa, matures in autumn and is green, ellipsoid, and about the size of a chicken egg. It has a sweet, aromatic flavour, which tastes like pineapple, apple, and mint. The flesh is juicy and is divided into a clear, gelatinous seed pulp and a firmer, slightly granular, opaque flesh nearer the skin. The fruit falls to the ground when ripe and at its fullest flavour, but it may be picked from the tree prior to falling to prevent bruising.
The fruit pulp resembles the closely related guava, having a gritty texture. The feijoa pulp is used in some natural cosmetic products as an exfoliant. Feijoa fruit has a distinctive, potent smell that resembles that of a fine perfume. The aroma is due to the ester methyl benzoate and related compounds that exist in the fruit.
It is a warm-temperate, subtropical plant that also will grow in the tropics, but requires at least 50 hours of winter chilling to fruit, and is frost-tolerant. When grown from seed, feijoas are noted for slow growth during their first year or two, and young plants, though cold tolerant, can be sensitive to high wind.
In the Northern Hemisphere, this species has been cultivated as far north as western Scotland, but under such conditions it does not fruit every year, as winter temperatures below approximately −9 °C (16 °F) kill the flower buds. Summer temperatures above 32 °C (90 °F) may also have an adverse effect upon fruit set. Feijoas are somewhat tolerant of drought and salt in soils, though fruit production can be adversely affected. Tolerant to partial shade, regular watering is essential while fruit is maturing.
Some grafted cultivars of feijoa are self-fertile. Most are not, and require a pollinator. Seedlings may or may not be of usable quality, and may or may not be self-fertile. Feijoas will mature into a sprawly shrub, but can be kept successfully as a large container plant, though accommodations will need to be made for the width of the plants, and the need to encourage new growth for fruit production.
Feijoas are occasionally found as landscape plants in Texas, Florida, California, and the maritime Pacific Northwest. They can succeed in greenhouses in temperate parts of the United States, and have been grown in-ground as fruiting trees on the United States east coast in coastal Georgia and South Carolina as well as in California. Other regions of the United States such as the southernmost Appalachian Mountains, and the immediate coastal region from North Carolina to Delaware would warrant further investigation.
The fruit has been widely grown in New Zealand since the 1920s, and it has become a popular garden tree.  It is commonly available in season from March to June. In New Zealand, the pollinators of this plant are bees, bumblebees, and medium-sized birds. The silvereye is a pollinator in the cooler parts of the South Island; the blackbird and the Indian myna, which feeds on the sweet, fleshy flower petals, are pollinators further north. In some areas where the species has been introduced, however, the trees have been unproductive due to lack of pollinators. The shrub has very few insect pests, although guava moth is a problem in northern New Zealand.
In the South Caucasus, feijoa has been cultivated in the southern coastal region of Azerbaijan since 1928; cultivation in neighboring Georgia has gradually increased to about 988 hectares in 1986.
Sale and shippingEdit
Ripe fruit is prone to bruising; difficulty maintaining the fruit in good condition for any length of time, along with the short period of optimum ripeness and full flavor, probably explains why feijoas frequently are not exported, and where grown commercially, are typically sold close to the source of the crop. However, intercontinental shipping of feijoa by sea or air has been successful.
Because of the relatively short shelf life, storekeepers need to be careful to replace older fruit regularly to ensure high quality. In some countries, they also may be purchased at roadside stalls, often at a lower price.
Feijoas may be cool-stored for approximately a month and still have a few days of shelf life at optimum eating maturity. They also may be frozen for up to one year without a loss in quality.
|Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)|
|Energy||230 kJ (55 kcal)|
|Dietary fiber||6.4 g|
|Pantothenic acid (B5)|
|†Percentages are roughly approximated using US recommendations for adults. |
Source: USDA FoodData Central
100 grams of raw feijoa provides 55 calories and is 13% carbohydrates, 8% sugars, and 1% each of fat and protein. The raw fruit is an excellent source of vitamin C, providing 40% of the daily value, but supplies no other nutrients in significant amount.
Although the skin is edible, the fruit usually is eaten by cutting it in half, then scooping out the pulp with a spoon. The fruit has a juicy, sweet seed pulp and slightly gritty flesh nearer the skin. Feijoa may be torn or bitten in half and the contents squeezed out and consumed. An alternative method is to bite the end off and then tear the fruit in half length-wise, exposing a larger surface with less curvature and using one's teeth to scrape the pulp out closer to the skin.
A feijoa may be used as an interesting addition to a fruit smoothie and may be used to make wine or cider and feijoa-infused vodka. The flavour is aromatic, strong and complex, inviting comparison with guava, strawberry, pineapple, and often containing a faint wintergreen-like aftertaste. It also is possible to buy feijoa yogurt, fruit drinks, jam, ice cream, and such in New Zealand. It also may be cooked and used in dishes where one would use stewed fruit. It is a popular ingredient in chutney. The very strong, complex flavour can make using feijoas, in combination with other fruits or vegetables, a creative and complex undertaking.
Fruit maturity is not always apparent visually, as the fruits remain the same shade of green until they are overripe or rotting. One usually may sense ripeness, however, by giving the fruit a soft squeeze; a ripe feijoa yields to pressure somewhat like a just-ripe banana. Generally, the fruit is at its optimum ripeness the day it drops from the tree. While still hanging, it may well prove bitter; once fallen, however, the fruit very quickly becomes overripe, so daily collection of fallen fruit is advisable during the season.
Numerous cultivars of feijoa have been developed.
- Den's Choice
- Edenvale Improved Coolidge
- Edenvale Late
- Edenvale Supreme
- Kakariki (a cultivar developed by Waimea Nurseries, New Zealand, large flavor-filled fruit, named for the Maori word for green)
- Mammoth – named for its relatively massive fruits
- Opal Star
- Pineapple Gem
- Smilax – mid-sized, spherical fruits with smooth texture
- Unique (NZ cultivar, particularly tolerant of clay soils, and self pollinating)
- Vista Long – noted for the long shape of its fruits, developed in Vista, CA
- Wiki Tu
- Govaerts R. (2020). "Feijoa; in Plants of the World Online". Kew.
- Lucas, Eve J.; Holst, Bruce; Sobral, Marcos; Mazine, Fiorella F.; Nic Lughadha, Eimear M.; Barnes Proença, Carolyn E.; Ribeiro da Costa, Itayguara; Vasconcelos, Thais N. C. (2019). "Feijoa; In: Systematic Botany, Vol. 44(3)". American Society of Plant Taxonomists. pp. 560–69.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
- "Acca sellowiana". Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Agricultural Research Service (ARS), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Retrieved 25 May 2013.
- Brazilian Portuguese preferred pronunciation — http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/feijoa feijoa. The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language: Fourth Edition. 2000
- Spanish preferred pronunciation — Sunset Western Garden Book, 1995:606–607
- "'Citrusy aroma': how feijoas baffled a New Zealand immigrant – and polarise a nation". The Guardian. 2021-04-02. Retrieved 2021-04-04.
pronounced "fey-oa" in its native South America and "fee-jo-ah" in New Zealand
- Morton JF (1987). "Feijoa; In: Fruits of Warm Climates". Center for New Crops & Plant Products, Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN. pp. 367–70.
- Shaw GJ, Ellingham PJ & Birch EJ. 1983. Volatile constituents of feijoa-headspace analysis of intact fruit. J.Sci.Fd.Agric. 34: 743-747.
- Evans, Kate (Jul 2020). "The People's Fruit". New Zealand Geographic. Kowhai Media (164). Retrieved 2 April 2021.
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- "New Zealand Feijoa Growers Association". New Zealand Feijoa Growers Association. Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 21 March 2016.
- Wakelin RH; et al. (2009). "Guava moth (Coscinoptycha improbana) mating disruption using asian peach moth (Carposina sasakii) pheromone dispensers" (PDF). Plant and Food Research, New Zealand. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-01-14. Retrieved 28 April 2015.
- Bose, T.K.; Mitra, S.K.; Sanyal, D., eds. (2001). Fruits: tropical and subtropical, Volume 2. Naya Udyog. p. 660. ISBN 978-81-85971-83-4.
- "FEIJOA". crfg.org.
- "Pineapple Guava; Feijoa (Feijoa sellowiana) – Rose Hips; Rugosa Rose (Rosa rugosa; R. eglanteria)". luvnpeas.org.
- "Feijoa acca sellowiana – Pineapple Guava". gardenofaedyn.com. Archived from the original on 2012-03-24.
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