One of the most gregarious of fruit trees, the Guava, of the Myrtle family, is almost universally known by its common English name or its equivalent in other languages. In Spanish, the tree is guayabo or guayavo, and the fruit guayaba or guayava.
A small tree to 33 feet high, with spreading branches, the Guava is easy to recognize because of its smooth, thin, copper-colored bark that flakes off, showing the greenish layer beneath; and also because of the attractive aspect of its trunk, which may in time attain a diameter of 10 inches. The leaves, aromatic when crushed, are evergreen, oval and somewhat irregular in outline being from 5 to 15 centimeters long. They are wide, leathery, with conspicuous parallel veins, and more or less downy on the underside. Faintly fragrant, the white flowers, borne singly or in small clusters in the leaf axils, are 1 inch wide, with 4 or 5 white petals, which are quickly shed, and a prominent tuft of perhaps 250 white stamens tipped with pale-yellow anthers.
The fruit, usually 2 to 4 inches long, are round or oval depending on the species. The outer skin may be rough, often with a bitter taste, or soft and sweet. Varying between species, the skin can be any thickness, is usually green before maturity, but becomes yellow, maroon, or green when ripe. The fruit generally has a pronounced and typical fragrance, like a strong, sweet musky odor when ripe. The pulp of the Guava is juicy and may be sweet or sour, off-white to deep pink. It is also filled with seeds of variable number and hardness, again depending on species. Some are very hard, yellowish seeds, 1/8 of an inch long, though some rare types have soft, chewable seeds. Actual seed counts have ranged from 112 to 535 but some are seedless or nearly so.