Pic of the Day – Acca sellowiana

Each rosy-red stamen is topped with gold.

Each rosy-red stamen is topped with gold.

Acca sellowiana or pineapple guava was formerly known as Feijoa sellowiana and can still be often found under that name.  It is a lovely flowering shrub with blue-green foliage covered in silvery hairs, the back-sides of the leaves are silver as well.  It flowers in late spring to early summer with pink petals and a mass of wiry rose-red filaments topped with gold anthers.  Pineapple guava fruits in areas where it receives enough winter chilling (usually about 50 hours), has a long summer that is not too dry, and summer temperatures that do not exceed 90 degrees F (32 degrees C) for extended periods.  In the southeastern US and true tropics, it rarely receives these conditions and so seldom sets fruit here in central NC.  In mountainous areas of Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay, and Argentina where it is native and countries like New Zealand and Azerbaijan where it is widely cultivated it fruits heavily with green, egg-sized fruit that have a sweet, gritty, gelatinous texture.  Grow several clones together for best fruiting.  Even where it will not fruit, it makes a beautiful evergreen shrub or small tree to about 15′ tall over time.  It can be kept pruned smaller if desired by cutting back after flowering.  One of the more interesting attributes of this shrub is the sweet flavor of the thick-textured flower petals.  They are surprisingly tasty and can be eaten straight from the tree or mixed into salads.  Grow Acca in full sun to part shade and prune for shape.  In cooler climates like the JC Raulston Arboretum’s central NC location, young plants can be somewhat winter tender and may need protection but are generally hardy once well-established.

Mature flowering specimens are beautiful with silvery foliage and pink flowers.

Mature flowering specimens are beautiful with silvery foliage and pink flowers.

Vigorous plants will have thousands of flowers with tasty petals.

Vigorous plants will have thousands of flowers with tasty petals.

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