Psidium cattleianum, commonly known as strawberry guava, Cattley guava or cherry guava, is a small tree in the Myrtaceae (myrtle) family. The species is named in honor of English horticulturist William Cattley. The plant is native to south-east Brazil, but has been naturalized in Florida, Hawai’i, tropical Polynesia, Norfolk Island and Mauritius.
Its genus name Psidium comes from the Latin psidion, or “armlet.” The red-fruited variety, P. cattleyanum var. cattleyanum, is commonly known as purple guava, red cattley guava, red strawberry guava and red cherry guava. The yellow-fruited variety, P. cattleyanum var. littorale is variously known as yellow cattley guava, yellow strawberry guava, yellow cherry guava, lemon guava and in Hawaii as waiawī. Although P. cattleyanum has select economic uses, it is considered the most invasive plant in Hawaii.
The strawberry guava fruit is very similar to the normal guava (scientific name P. guava) but usually considered to be more attractive but smaller in size. Some of the popular common names of the plant are Cattley guava, Chinese cherry guava, Chinese guava, cherry guava, purple guava, purple strawberry guava, red strawberry guava, small guava, strawberry guava, yellow Cattley guava, yellow strawberry guava, Peruvian guava, Thai Guava, Kuahpa, Bella seebai, Konda jamipandu, Malam perakka, Mpera-ngombe, Mpera, Pahadi pijuli, Pahari payara, Porpay, Quwawa ni vavalagi and Seemai koyya. Strawberry guavas are delicious when consumed fresh, with an attractive sour taste caused by the very high content of vitamin C. Cherry guava can also be prepared in many ways, into jelly, jam, ice cream, sorbet or juice. Boiling the fruit in water with added sugar produces a paste that is useful in bakery products as a filling.
Cherry Guava Plant Description
Strawberry Cherry is small erect, highly-branched, slow growing evergreen shrub that grows about 2-6 m tall. The plant is normally found growing in sub-montane rainforest, montane cloud forest, montane rainforest, moist tropical montane forest, riparian forest, tropical evergreen forest, deciduous woodland (oak), tropical montane savanna, lowland sub-tropical rainforest, scrubland, grassland, degraded forest, cultivation and agroforestry systems, roadsides, wastelands, pastures, scrubs, forested land and on areas disturbed by natural processes such as storms and lava flows. The plant prefers acid soils and is not sensitive to soil structure. It can grow on shallow or infertile soils. It does, however, requires a well-drained soil and does not tolerate waterlogging. The slender stem and branches are smooth, pinkish, greenish or greyish brown in color. Bark peels off in small papery flakes. Twigs are glabrous and cylindrical, and young leaves and twigs are red in color.
Cherry Guava Leaves
Leaves are opposite and decussate, shortly petiolate (petiole 3–10 mm long), elliptic to obovate, 4.5–12 cm long and 2–6 cm wide, with a blunt to slightly acuminate apex and a cuneiform sharp base. They are thick and coriaceous, upper surface is dark green in color, glossy, waxy, flat or slightly folded around the main rib. The lower surface is glabrous, whitish-green in color, punctuated with small oil cavities, and with the main rib prominent near the base but the 8–10 pairs of lateral ribs is not prominent, forming an intra-marginal rib 1–3 mm from the edge of the limb. Young leaves and twigs are red in color.
Cherry Guava Flower
The fragrant flowers are axillary and solitary, rarely grouped in 2 or 3. The four to five white petals are obovate, 5–6 mm long and wide. Flowers bear numerous stamens, 256 to 480 according to Raseira and Raseira, and a greenish disc-shaped stigma. Ovary is tri- to penta-locular, mostly tetra-locular. Flowering normally takes place from May.
Cherry Guava Fruit
Fertile flowers are followed by globulous to obovoid berry, 1.5–4 cm in diameter, bearing persistent sepals at the apex. The thin skin is dark green when unripe, and then red to purple for P. cattleianum var. cattleianum and sulfur-yellow for P. cattleianum var. lucidum. Pulp is soft, white or yellow, very juicy and contains several (2–100) small soft seeds. Seeds are reniform, 2–3 mm long, with a yellowish testa. Fruit has a pleasant, strawberry-like flavor when ripe, hence its common name.
Health benefits of Strawberry Guava
Straw berry guava is quite nutritious fruit. Professionals say that the nutritional profile of strawberry guava is comparable to that of guava, though it claims double the calcium content of guava! Needless to say, the consistent consumption of strawberry guava can help in keeping your pearly whites strong. It can also help strengthen your bones and significantly lower your osteoporosis risk. Listed below are few of the most impressive health benefits of consuming strawberry guava
1. Stronger Immune System
As we all know that strawberry is rich in vitamin C content, it helps to make the immune system more effective at keeping the body safeguarded from disease-causing microbes. Addition of strawberry guava in the diet is especially beneficial when the season for various respiratory tract infections like the cold and flu is nearing.
2. Regular Bowel Movement
Since strawberry guava is loaded with fiber, consuming it on a regular basis helps flush out toxins and waste products in the gut. It’s the perfect addition to the everyday diet of anyone who is regularly bugged by constipation.
3. Healthy and Beautiful Skin
Just like guava, strawberry guava is also a remarkable source of vitamin C. It can help promote the healing of wounds and synthesis of collagen, which helps make the skin elastic and free of lines and wrinkles.
4. Controlled Blood Sugar
As mentioned previously strawberry guava fruits are full of fiber and help in weight loss as well as maintain normal blood pressure. These properties help in making it great for treating diabetes. Fiber in this fruit extracts the consumption of sugar and decreases the risk of your body suffering from high levels of glucose or insulin.
5. Stronger Gums
Other than the calcium it packs, strawberry guava also helps keep a person’s smile complete due to its loads of vitamin C, which is a nutrient so important for keeping the gums healthy and strong, and avoiding scurvy from striking.
6. Lower Blood Pressure
Apart from warding off constipation and spikes in blood sugar, the fact that strawberry guava is rich in fiber makes the fruit very good at keeping both cholesterol and blood pressure within the normal range. Thus frequent consumption of strawberry guava helps to lower a person’s risk of having deadly heart disease.
7. Stimulates digestion
These fruits are rich sources of dietary fiber and Vitamin C. Presence of dietary fiber in strawberries helps in improving digestion and enables proper movement of food through the small intestine. You can try having strawberries instead of the usual dessert you have. This is delightful and also helps in proper digestion.
8. Treats dysentery
Due to the presence of Vitamin C and fiber, strawberry guava is considered wonderful for your stomach. Astringent properties of this fruit can control microbial growth and help in getting rid of excess mucus form the intestine. In this way it helps in curing dysentery.
9. Improves eyesight
Vitamin A is present in high amounts in strawberry guavas. This makes it very beneficial for your eyes. Deficiency in Vitamin A can cause night blindness and poor vision. Consuming this fruit regularly can help in improving your eyesight as well as your health. It is also good for preventing cataract and ensures healthy eyes.
10. Reduced Cancer Risk
Strawberry guava has the power to fight against cancer, which is considered as one of the most important benefits of this fruit. It is rich in polyphenols and cancer-fighting elements. They help in getting rid of free radicals that are harmful for the body. They also hamper tumor growth. This fruit consists of lycopene, which is a powerful antioxidant. This can prevent many types of cancer.
Due to the presence of dietary fiber in strawberry guava, they add bulk to the food you consume and help in proper bowel movements. This way it is good for treating constipation. The fiber is also good for preventing heart problems and maintains normal levels of cholesterol and blood sugar.
12. Promotes weight loss
Strawberry guavas are very beneficial for helping you lose weight and at the same time provide you the proteins, vitamins, and fiber you need. It is a rich source of fiber, which can help you reduce cholesterol levels and improve digestion. Experts say that high fiber diet is always great for losing weight effectively. Strawberry guava consists of less sugar compared to other fruits like grapes, apples and oranges.
13. Promotes brain health
Presence of B vitamins, like B3 and B6, makes this fruit excellent for proper development of the brain. Vitamin B3 helps in increasing the flow of blood to the brain and also improves cognitive functions. So, you can improve the health of your brain by consuming strawberry guavas regularly.
14. Thyroid health
Copper is essential for improving the metabolism of thyroid and this in turn helps in improving your metabolism by regulating the production of hormones and absorption.
15. Treats scurvy
The amount of nutrition in strawberry guavas is much more than that found in other fruits like orange and citrus fruits. It is seen that it contains about 5 times more Vitamin C in it than the other fruits. This makes it great for those who are deficient in vitamin C and suffer from scurvy and other Vitamin C deficiency symptoms. It also helps in boosting the immunity power of the body.
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