Acca sellowiana (syn. Feijoa sellowiana)
pineapple guava

Myrtaceae (myrtle family)
South America
Acca sellowiana leaves, fruit. From An Illustrated Manual of Pacific Coast Trees, Howard E. McMinn & Evelyn Maino

This rather striking small tree or large shrub exhibits two contrasting tones of green, being silvery underneath the leaves, and in late spring adds an accent of bright red flowers. The flower gets its effect from its bunch of long stiff stamens as also do the related eucalypts, which have learned to dispense entirely with petals as a means of attracting pollinators. In the case of Acca, the petals are succulent and may be eaten.

Later in the fall the gray-green oval pineapple-flavored fruits ripen. There are many on campus, including two about 12 feet tall at 591 Salvatierra Street, and a tall one at 743 Cooksey Lane; three or four were being clipped as a low hedge on Abbott Way at Rogers House prior to its relocation to 581 Capistrano Way as part of the Munger Project. Several can be seen at Rains Houses to each side of the Hacienda Commons. There are others near Stern Hall and also at the Bing Nursery School, the latter pruned as a large hedge.

The time to locate them by their flowers is early June. To get ripe fruit, pick it up from the ground, or shake the tree. Even then you may need to keep the fruit on a sunny window-sill before eating it. Squirrels do not have the necessary patience and leave prematurely picked fruit on top of our fence. Feijoas are rich in vitamin C and make a good addition to a fruit salad. The plant was named for da Silva Feijo, an 18th century Spanish naturalist.

Illustrations: flower | branchlet and fruit | fruit.

Name derivation: Acca: Peruvian name; Feijoa – da Silva Feijo, an 18th century Spanish naturalist; sellowiana – Friedrich Sellow (1789–1831), German botanist who collected in South America.

About this Entry: The main text of this entry is from the book Trees of Stanford and Environs, by Ronald Bracewell, published 2005.