Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Psidium cattleyanum Sabine

Shrub (woody or herbaceous, 1-6 m tall)
Click/tap on images to enlarge
Leaves and fruit. © CSIRO
Fruit, side view and cross section. © W. T. Cooper
Scale bar 10mm. © CSIRO
10th leaf stage. © CSIRO
Cotyledon stage, epigeal germination. © CSIRO

Sabine, J. (1822) Transactions of the Horticultural Society of London 4 : 317. Type: Cultivated plant grown from seed received from China, W. Cattley.

Common name

Purple Guava; Cattley Guava; Cherry Guava; Guava; Guava, Cherry; Strawberry Guava; Guava, Cattley


Usually encountered as a small tree less than 30 cm dbh. Bark smooth, pale brown. Often flowers and fruits as a shrub.


Oil dots visible with a lens if not visible to the naked eye. Stipules small and inconspicuous, shed early. Leaf blades about 4.5-9 x 2.2-4.5 cm. Midrib flush with the upper surface. Lateral veins not raised on the underside of the leaf blade. The reticulate veins between the main lateral veins appear to flow from the midrib towards the leaf margin. Intramarginal vein not well developed.


Flowers strongly perfumed, the odour difficult to describe. Calyx tube (hypanthium) splits into about 4-6 lobes when the flower opens. Calyx tube (hypanthium) + lobes about 8 x 5 mm at the flower bud stage. Petals about 4-5 x 4-5 mm.


Fruits globular, about 20-25 x 20 mm. Calyx lobes persistent at the apex. Seeds hard, about 3 x 2.5 mm. Testa +/- furry because of the attached tissue. Embryo horseshoe or hook-shaped.


Cotyledons ovate, about 7-9 mm long, apex apiculate, base rounded to cuneate. Oil dots visible with a lens. At the tenth leaf stage: leaf blade obovate to elliptic, apex acute or shortly acuminate, base cuneate, upper surface glabrous, a few pale hairs present on the underside towards the base and around the margin; oil dots small and numerous; petiole hairy; stipules or stipule-like glands may be present. Seed germination time 30 days.

Distribution and Ecology

An introduced species, originally from Brazil, widely cultivated in Queensland and now naturalised in NEQ on parts of the Atherton and Windsor Tablelands, and possibly in CEQ. Altitudinal range not certain but collected at 400-750 m. Grows as an understory tree in disturbed rain forest.

Natural History & Notes

Originally introduced for its edible fruits, it can now be found in several rain forest areas.

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