The Feijoa (Feijoa sellowiana)

General info about Fruit

The feijoa is native to extreme southern Brazil, northern Argentina, western Paraguay and Uruguay where it is common wild in the mountains. It is believed that the plant was first grown in Europe by M. de Wette in Switzerland and, a little later, about 1887, it was known to be in the .Botanic Garden at Basle. In 1890, the renowned French botanist and horticulturist, Dr. Edouard Andre, brought an air-layered plant from La Plata, Brazil and planted it in his garden on the Riviera. It fruited in 1897. Dr. Andre published a description with color plates of the leaves, flowers
and fruit, in the Revue Horticole in 1898, praising the fruit and recommending cultivation in southern France and all around the Mediterranean area.
A nurseryman in Lyons distributed air-layers from the Andre plant in 1899 and many were planted on the Riviera, some in Italy and Spain and some in greenhouses further north. That same year, the prominent nurserymen, Besson Freres, obtained seeds from Montevideo and raised thousands of plants which were widely sold and proved to be of a different type than Dr. Andre’s plant. Seeds were imported by one or two other French nurserymen, and then, in 1901, seedlings from Dr. Andre’s plant were obtained by Dr. F. Franceschi of Santa Barbara, California, from M. Naudin of Antibes. These were planted at several different California locations. In 1903, Dr. Franceschi acquired, through F. Morel of Lyons, several air layers from Dr. Andre’s plant. He planted 1 or 2 at Santa Barbara and most of the rest were sent to Florida. The plant did not succeed in southern Florida but became quite popular in northern Florida, primarily as an ornamental and particularly as a clipped hedge. Dr. Henry Nehrling had two plants growing well in a shed in half-shade at Gotha in central Florida, in 1911. They flowered and fruited but the fruit dropped before maturity and rotted quickly. In recent years, the cultivar ‘Coolidge’, vegetatively propagated, has borne well in Florida. In California, the feijoa is grown in a limited way for its fruit, especially in cool coastal locations, mainly around San Francisco. At the Experimental Station in Honolulu a plant flourished for 15 years without bearing fruit. Later plantings have succeeded at higher elevations.
The feijoa is sometimes cultivated in the highlands of Chile and other South American countries and in the Caribbean area. Jamaica received a few plants from California in 1912 and planted them at various altitudes. I have seen occasional plants on roadsides and in private gardens in the Bahamas, but they do not fruit and often fail to flower. In southern India, the feijoa is grown for its fruit in home gardens at temperate elevations–about 3,500 ft (1,067 m).
Nowhere has the feijoa received more attention than in New Zealand. An Auckland nurseryman introduced 3 cultivars from Australia–‘Coolidge’, ‘Choiceana’, and ‘Superba’–about 1908. They remained little known until 1930 when the feijoa was advertised as an ornamental plant. Later, after improvement by selection and naming of types with large, superior fruits and their vegetative propagation, small commercial plantings were made in citrus-growing areas of the North Island. The New Zealand Feijoa Growers’ Association was formed in 1983 and some fruit is being exported to the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Netherlands, France and Japan. New Zealanders also plant the feijoa as a windbreak around wind-sensitive crops. It is planted as an ornamental and for its fruit in southern Africa. Following WW II, feijoa plantations were established in North Africa, the Caucasian region of southern Russia, as well as in Sicily, Portugal and Italy.
In England, the feijoa is much appreciated as a wall shrub, though it flowers profusely only in sunny locations. Planting of feijoas has been officially discouraged in New South Wales and Victoria, Australia, because the fruit is a prime host of the fruit fly

How to choose a ripe and fresh Fruit

The fruit is oblong or ovoid or slightly pear-shaped, 1-1 1/2 to 2 1/2 in (4-6 cm) long and 1 1/8 to 2 in (2.8-5 cm) wide, with the persistent calyx segments adhering to the apex. The thin skin is coated with a “bloom” of fine whitish hairs until maturity, when it remains dull-green or yellow-green, sometimes with a red or orange blush. 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 or subacid, suggesting a combination of pineapple and guava or pineapple and strawberry in flavor. There are usually 20 to 40, occasionally as many as 100, very small, oblong seeds hardly noticeable when the fruit is eaten.

Ways to prepare and serve the Fruit

Edible Uses
Edible Parts: Flowers; Fruit.
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. 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)

Health Benefits and Warnings of eating Fruit

Medicinal Uses
None known

Other Uses
Although not very cold hardy in Britain, it resists maritime exposure and can be grown as a shelter hedge in mild maritime areas.



As stated, right at the outset seedlings from different sources showed distinct characteristics. It is reported that a man named H. Hehre of Los Angeles got seeds from Argentina and among the seedlings he raised there was one that seemed superior to the others and was earlier bearing. It became known as the ‘Hehre’ variety. The fruit is large, slender-pyriform, sometimes curved; yellow-green, with thin skin, finely granular flesh, abundant, very juicy pulp, fairly numerous and larger than ordinary seeds, sweet but not aromatic flavor; seedlings erect, compact, vigorous, with lush foliage but only moderately fruitful.
‘Andre’ (the original air-layer from Brazil), has a medium to large, oblong to round fruit, rough-surfaced, light-green, thick-fleshed, few-seeded; richly flavored and very aromatic. Seedlings are upright, spreading to intermediate. Self-fertile; bears heavily.
Besson’ (seeds from Uruguay in 1899) has small to medium, oval, smooth fruits with red or maroon cheek; thin-skinned, with medium-thick, fine-grained flesh, very juicy pulp, numerous seeds, and rich, aromatic flavor. Seedlings are upright or spreading. This is the type grown in southern India. Both ‘Andre’ and ‘Besson’ have long been prominent in France.
‘Coolidge’, most commonly grown in California, has fruit varying from pyriform to oblong or elongated, of medium size, with somewhat crinkled skin. It is of indifferent flavor but is a dependable bearer being 100% self-fertile. The plant is upright and strong growing.
‘Choiceana’, next in favor, has round to oval, fairly smooth, medium sized to small fruit, 2 to 3 1/2 in (5-9 cm) long, of good flavor; almost always or no less than 42% self-fertile; the plant of spreading habit and medium vigor.
‘Superba’ has round to slightly oval, medium smooth, medium to small fruits of good flavor; it is partially (33%) self-incompatible. The plant is spreading, straggly in habit and of medium vigor.
The two leading New Zealand cultivars are selections made there from ‘Choiceana’ seedlings: ‘Triumph’ has oval, short, plump fruits, not as pointed as those of ‘Coolidge’; medium to large; smooth. The plant is upright, of medium vigor.
‘Mammoth’ has oval fruits resembling those of ‘Coolidge’; large, to 8 1/2 oz (240 g); somewhat wrinkled. The plant is of upright habit, and strong-growing. In 1979, ‘Mammoth’, ‘Coolidge’, and ‘Triumph’ grown from cuttings were being advertised in the New Zealand journal of Agriculture as suitable for export.
Two new New Zealand cultivars, of which 20,000 plants had been sold in 1983, are ‘Apollo’, with thin skin subject to bruising and purpling; and ‘Gemini’, having very small fruits with thin skin. The Association recommends that growers plant the tried and true ‘Triumph’.
Among Australian selections are ‘Large Oval’ and ‘Chapman’.
‘David’ has round or oval fruits with skin of sweet and agreeable flavor; matures in November in Europe.
‘Roundjon’ has oval or rounded fruits, somewhat rough-skinned and red-blushed; of agreeable flavor; matures in November in Europe.
‘Magnifica’ is a selected seedling with very large fruits of inferior quality.
‘Robert’ has oval fruits with grainy flesh, and undesirable brownish leaves.
‘Hirschvogel’ is highly self-incompatible. ‘Bliss’ is partially self-incompatible.
The botanical variety variegata has variegated foliage.

Recipes made mainly with this Fruit

When preparing feijoas for eating or preserving, peeling should be immediately followed by dipping into a weak salt solution or into water containing fresh lemon juice. Both of these methods will prevent the flesh from oxidizing (turning brown). The flesh and pulp (with seeds) are eaten raw as dessert or in salads, or are cooked in puddings, pastry fillings, fritters, dumplings, fruit-sponge-cake, pies or tarts, or employed as flavoring for ice cream or soft drinks. Surplus fruits may be peeled, halved and preserved in sirup in glass jars, or sliced and crystallized, or made into chutney, jam, jelly, conserve, relish, sauce or sparkling wine.
The thick petals are spicy and are eaten fresh by children and sometimes by adults. The petals may be plucked without interfering with fruit set.

Food Value Per 100 g of Edible Portion*

Moisture 84%
Protein 0.9%
Fat 0.2%
Carbohydrates* 10%
Ash 0.5%
Potassium 166 mg
Sodium 5 mg
Calcium 4 mg
Magnesium 8 mg
Phosphorus 10 mg
Iron 0.05 mg
Ascorbic Acid 28-35 mg

*Analyses reported in the literature.
**Sugar 6% compared to 13% in the orange.

The fruit is rich in water-soluble iodine compounds. The percentage varies with locality and from year to year but the usual range is 1.65 to 3.90 mg/kg of fresh fruit. Most types are high in pectin, so that 3 lbs (1.4 kg) of jelly can be made from 1 lb (.45 kg) of fruit. … re=related … re=related … re=related