Feijoa sellowiana

feijoa flowers 04 12 2009

Scientific Name: Feijoa sellowiana
Family: Myrtaceae
Also Known As: Feijoa, Pineapple Guava, Guavasteen
Origin: Brazil
Source: growing around border of vegetable garden when I entered the scene

  • 13/04/2009 Feijoas (Feijoa sellowiana), aka guavasteen or pineapple guava, burst onto the markets this week. When ripe they taste a little like pineapple custard in the middle, with a nashi/Asian pear texture near the skin. When not yet ripe, there’s a puckering persimmon effect.

    I also noticed last night they’re a prominent ingredient in my favorite moisturizing body cream by Antipodes.

    Feijoa’s also the namesake for a warm and wonderful typeface by Wellington designer Kris Sowersby.

  • 31/10/2009 The vegetable garden is blessed with a perimeter of feijoa trees. How thoughtful — New Zealanders plant the feijoa as a windbreak around wind-sensitive crops. If ever a site needed it, this would be that. Alas, they are not flourishing. In fact, they were so covered with weeds, I don’t think they’ve seen much of the sun. One of the local pros I consulted suggested ripping their sorry stems out and starting fresh, but I want to give them a season or two to see what they can do.
  • 27/11/2009 Delighted to discover some of the feijoa flowering. And to learn that the flowers themselves are edible — “The flavor is sweet and tropical, somewhat like a freshly picked ripe papaya or exotic melon still warm from the sun.

    The 1 inch showy, bisexual flowers, borne singly or in a cluster, have long, bright red stamens topped with large grains of yellow pollen. Flowers appear late, from May through June [in the Northern Hemisphere]. Each flower contains four to six fleshy flower petals that are white tinged with purple on the inside. These petals are mildly sweet and edible and can make a refreshing addition to spring salads. Birds eating the petals pollinate the flower.

    It has been said that Feijoa pollen is transferred by birds that are attracted to and eat the flowers, but bees are the chief pollinators. Most flowers pollinated with compatible pollen show 60 to 90% fruit set. Hand pollination is nearly 100% effective. Two or more bushes should be planted together for cross-pollination unless the cultivar is known to be self-compatible. Poor bearing is usually the result of inadequate pollination. (from ediblelandscaping.com )

  • 20/04/2010 Tried first feijoa from the most fruitful plant, but not ripe yet. Apparently you have to wait for them to fall off.

  • 29/04/2010 The feijoas have fallen! I ate four today. They are so delicious. How to describe the taste? Something like pineapple applesauce custard.

    Last night, I had the pleasure of meeting the new American ambassador to New Zealand and Samoa, David Huebner (blog, twitter). A fellow expat asked if he’d tried feijoa yet (with a disparaging tone towards the fruit), and he had not, but his impressive partner, Duane McWaine, noted they had some growing in their yard and that they would fall off when they were ripe.