A SHRUB A DAY

 
 

The Feijoa, or Feijoa sellowiana, also known as Pineapple Guava, is an evergreen shrub, or if desired, small tree that slowly grows as high as 15 feet with a similar spread. It is a handsome shrub that has become popular world-wide in areas with mild winters and moderate summers. The bark is pale gray and the evergreen, thick, leathery leaves are opposite and blunt and range from 1 to 2-1/2 inches long and 1 inch wide. The leaves are smooth soft green on top and silvery underneath, and flash attractively in a gentle breeze. But it's the showy one inch flowers that are most eye-catching. They have bright red stamens topped with large grains of yellow pollen and four to six fleshy flower petals that are white tinged with purple. These exotic blooms are not only beautiful but sweet and edible as well and make a refreshing addition to any salad.

But aside from the attractive foliage and pretty flowers Feijoas produce a tasty fruit. These range from 3/4 to 3-1/2 inches long with waxy grayish green skin. The fruit emits a strong long-lasting perfume, even before it is fully ripe. The thick, white, granular, watery flesh and the translucent central pulp enclosing the seeds are sweet and suggest a combination of pineapple and guava or pineapple and strawberry with overtones of winter green or spearmint. There are usually 20 - 40, occasionally more, very small, oblong seeds hardly noticeable when the fruit is eaten.

When planted close together, these handsome shrubs make a nice hedge, screen, or windbreak. Feijoas can also be espaliered or limbed up as a small tree (20 to 25 ft. tall) with one or more trunks. The feijoa is remarkably pest and disease-resistant and is useful as well as ornamental landscape addition. It likes full sun and regular watering. It is grown with great success in Australia, New Zealand, the southern parts of the US and the southwest and can even grow in the warmer parts of the UK.

Feijoa

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