Feijoa obovata (O.Berg) O.Berg
Feijoa schenkiana Kiaersk.
Feijoa sellowiana (O.Berg) O.Berg
Orthostemon obovatus O.Berg.
Orthostemon sellowianus O.Berg
Common Name: Feijoa
Feijoa is a densely-branched, evergreen shrub or small tree with a very dense, rounded crown; it can grow 3 - 7.5 metres tall. The short, cylindrical bole can be 15 - 20cm in diameter[
The edible fruit is much appreciated within the plants native range. The plant is sometimes cultivated in warm temperate to tropical regions, both for its edible fruit and also as an ornamental plant, where it is valued especially for its very attractive flowers.
S. America - Argentina, Uruguay, southern and eastern Brazil.
Fields and the more open areas in pine forests and woodland edges, favouring humid and rocky soils[
]. Tropical and sub-tropical highlands below 1,000 metres.
|Other Uses Rating||
|Cultivation Status||Cultivated, Ornamental, Wild
Feijoa grows best in warm temperate, subtropical and cool, highland tropical climates, generally not fruiting very well at lowland elevations in the tropics[
]. It grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are within the range 18 - 21°c, but can tolerate 12 - 28°c[
]. When dormant, the plant can survive temperatures down to about -10°c, but young growth can be severely damaged at -1°c[
]. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 750 - 1,500mm, but tolerates 600 - 2,000mm[
Prefers a light loamy well-drained soil[
], requiring a warm sunny position[
]. Prefers light shade[
]. Succeeds in any reasonably good soil, even growing well on chalk[
]. Prefers a pH in the range 5.5 - 7, tolerating 4.5 - 8[
]. Dislikes extreme alkalinity[
]. Tolerates drought and salt winds[
It grows very well on a west-facing wall at Kew Gardens, London; where it often produces fruits - though these do not always ripen[
]. A very good crop of fruit was produced on this plant after the cool summer of 1998, these were not quite ripe at the end of October, but they ripened in storage[
]. Plants have also succeeded in Norfolk and in Scotland when grown against a sunny wall, though some extra protection might be required in very cold winters[
]. Succeeds as a free-standing shrub in Cornwall[
Plants are generally quite slow-growing[
Plants can commence fruiting when 3 or more years old from seed[
There are some named varieties, developed for their superior fruiting[
]. 'Apollo' and 'Mammoth' are cultivars noted for their fruiting propensity[
]. 'Smith' fruits well in the Pacific Northwest and so might be suitable for the mild areas of Britain[
Some cultivars are self-fertile whilst others require cross-pollination[
Fruit - raw or cooked[
]. A delicious aromatic taste, somewhat like a cross between a pineapple and a strawberry[
]. The fruit is best eaten raw but it can also be made into pies, cakes, puddings, jams, jellies etc[
]. Fruits can suffer damage from autumn frosts, though the flavour develops better at low temperatures[
]. The fruit is up to 7.5cm long[
]. It is a rich source of iodine.
Flowers - raw[
]. The petals are sweet, crisp and delicious, they taste more like a fruit than many fruits[
]. They should be harvested just after they begin to soften[
]. (not sure that I agree with this last sentence[
Feijoa has a dense growth habit, resists maritime exposure and responds well to trimming. It can be grown as a shelter hedge in mild maritime areas[
The shallow root system holds the soil and prevents erosion[
The wood is moderately heavy, compact, elastic, splits easily, very durable even in adverse conditions. It can be used for small works, posts, stays etc[
The wood is used for fuel and to make charcoal[
Seed - sow spring in a greenhouse. Rinse the seed before sowing to ensure there is no fruit flesh remaining since this can inhibit germination. The seed usually germinates in 3 - 6 weeks at 15°c[
]. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots as soon as they are large enough to handle. Grow on for at least the first winter in a greenhouse and plant out in late spring or early summer after the last expected frosts. Give the plants some protection for their first winter outdoors.
Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 5 - 7 cm with a heel, mid summer in a frame. Slow to root[
], but you eventually get a good percentage take[