Quick Facts

Quick facts

  • Cherry Guava (Psidium cattleyanum) is South American shrub or small tree with bright green opposite leaves, fluffy white flowers, and purple-red fruits.
  • It is naturalised in tropical to subtropical areas of north-eastern Australia, and on Lord Howe, Norfolk and Christmas Islands.
  • The fruits are edible and are attractive to birds and mammals which disperse the seeds.
  • Cherry Guava is shade tolerant and able to invade intact forest.
  • It is an important environmental weed in parts of the Pacific region.
  • It has been ranked as one of the world’s 100 worst invasive weeds by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.

What Does It Look Like?

What is it?

Cherry Guava (Psidium cattleyanum) is a shrub or small tree growing to 10 m high. All parts of the plant are virtually hairless, except for new growth which is often finely hairy. The leaves are opposite, glossy green and somewhat thick and leathery, egg-shaped and broader towards the tip, and mostly 4–7 cm long and 2.5–4 cm wide, with conspicuous stalks 4–15 mm long.

The flowers are about 10 mm long and wide, white, and borne singly at the junctions of leaf and branchlet. The four or five petals are broad and widely spreading. The stamens are very numerous and shorter than the petals. The flowers are followed by fleshy fruits.

At maturity, the fruits are globose (spherical), or nearly so, and 25–35 mm long, with a persistent calyx (the collective term for the leaf-like structures, sepals, surrounding the petals/fruit) at the end opposite the stalk. The fruits are purplish-red, rarely yellow, and contain numerous seeds (Green 1994).

For further information or assistance with the identification of Cherry Guava, contact the herbarium in your state or territory.

Flower colour


Growth form (weed type/habit)

Tree, Shrub

Where it currently grows? Preferred habitat

Cherry Guava prefers open disturbed habitats in or near open forest or rainforest, usually where annual rainfall exceeds 1500 mm. Soil type does not appear to be important (Queensland Herbarium 2008).

Are there similar species?

Cherry Guava is similar to the other naturalised guava species, Brazilian Guava (Psidium guineense) and Guava (Psidium guajava), but those species have larger leaves with prominent veins. Cherry Guava also has purplish-red fruit, while the other species have yellow fruit (Stanley & Ross 1986; Navie 2004).

Why Is It A Weed?

What are its impacts?

Native ecosystems: Cherry Guava is a robust environmental weed because it is tolerant of shady conditions and the fruits are attractive to both birds and mammals. It infests forests, woodlands, forest margins and grassland areas of tropical and sub-tropical areas (NSW Weedwise 2014). It is a very serious weed in Hawaii and on Norfolk Island and it may affect the structure and composition of forests (GISD 2008).Able to tolerate shade, it completes with the understorey species of native rainforests, changing the biodiversity and structure of the forest by out-competing all other species present and forming a monoculture (NSW Weedwise 2014).

How does it spread?

The seeds of Cherry Guava are eaten and dispersed by cattle and birds. Feral pigs are also an important dispersal agent in some countries (Green 1994; GISD 2008).

What is its history in Australia?

Species of Psidium are widely grown for their edible fruit, and Cherry Guava was undoubtedly introduced for that purpose (Stanley & Ross 1986; Green 1994).

Cherry Guava first became naturalised in Australia in the 1890s, when it was recorded as a naturalised plant on the Daintree River, Queensland (Queensland Herbarium 2008).

How To Manage It?

Best practice management

Non-chemical control: Manual control: Physical removal is best avoided in large infestations as the roots need to be removed and destroyed, so that plants do not regenerate. Take care if using any form of manual control as plants can re-shoot from the roots. Where practical, manually uproot small seedlings and saplings that have originated from seed NSW Weedwise 2014). 

Chemical control: Some herbicides are effective in controlling Cherry Guava. They can be applied to leaves, exposed sapwood or cut stumps (PIER 2003).

Please see the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority for chemical information http://www.apvma.gov.au 

Does it have a biological control agent?


When does it grow? (lifecycle/growth calendar)

Cherry Guava is a perennial species. Flowers have been recorded from September to January, and fruits have been recorded from February to April (Queensland Herbarium 2008).

Where Is It Found?

Which states and territories is it found?


What areas within states and territories is it found?

Cherry Guava is sporadically naturalised in coastal areas of Queensland and northern New South Wales. It is also naturalised on Lord Howe Island, Norfolk Island and Christmas Island (Navie 2004; Queensland Herbarium 2008).

Where does it originate?

Cherry Guava originated in Brazil and Uruguay (GRIN 2008).

National And State Weed Listings

Is it a Weed of National Significance (WONS)?


Where is it a declared weed?

Not declared in any state or territory

Government weed strategies and lists – Weeds Australia

Is it on the National Alert List for Environmental Weeds?


Government weed strategies and lists – Weeds Australia

Is it on the Agricultural Sleeper List?


Government weed strategies and lists – Weeds Australia

Names And Taxonomy

Main scientific name

Psidium cattleyanum

Other scientific names (synonyms)?

Psidium cattleianum Sabine (incorrect spelling)

Does it have other known common name(s)?

Strawberry Guava

Blackberry – a community-driven approach in Victoria

Blackberry the weed (Rubus fruticosus aggregate) was first introduced to Australia by European settlers in the mid-1800s as a fruit. It was recognised as a weed by mid-1880s. Blackberry is a serious issue across Australia. It is estimated that blackberry infests approximately 8.8 million hectares of land at an estimated cost of $103 million in annual control and production losses.

Read Case Study