Guavas are evergreen trees that grow to over 25 ft with spreading branches although unlikely to grow to over 10 feet in the UK climate. The bark is smooth, mottled green or reddish brown and peels off in thin flakes to reveal the attractive ‘bony’ aspect of its trunk. The plant branches close to the ground and often produces suckers from roots near the base of the trunk.
Raw guavas are eaten out-of-hand, but are preferred seeded and served sliced as dessert or in salads. The fruit is sometimes cooked. A standard dessert throughout Latin America and the Spanish-speaking islands of the West Indies is stewed guava shells (cascos de guayaba), that is, guava halves with the central seed pulp removed, strained and added to the shells while cooking to enrich the syrup. The canned product is widely sold and the shells can also be quick-frozen. They are often served with cream cheese. Sometimes guavas are canned whole or cut in half without seed removal.