Acca sellowiana

Acca sellowiana

The Feijoa Selloviana or simply Feijoa (Acca sellowiana (O. Berg) Burret) is an evergreen shrub belonging to the Mirtaceae family.

Systematics –
From the systematic point of view it belongs to the Domain Eukaryota, Kingdom Plantae, Magnoliophyta Division, Magnoliopsida Class, Subclass Magnoliidae, Order Myrtales, Family Myrtaceae and therefore to the Genus Acca and to the Species A. sellowiana.

Etymology –
The term Acca comes from aka, a local name for the Feijoa in the Santo Domingo district of Peru. the specific epithet is sellowiana in honor of the German botanist Friedrich Sellow (original family name Sello, 1798-1831) who collected plants in Brazil and Uruguay.

Geographic Distribution and Habitat –
Acca sellowiana is a species native to the subtropical zone of South America and is now widespread in California, Florida and southern Italy, but is also found in Tuscany and Liguria.

Description –
The Sellovian Feijoa is an evergreen plant, with shrub and bushy habit; in the area of ​​origin, however, it also reaches 8 meters in height. The flowers are hermaphrodite, very showy and edible. Pollination is crossed but autofertile varieties exist. The fruits are characterized by a robust green rind, translucent white or yellowish, gelatinous pulp and with numerous small hardest seeds, they are as big as plums, ovals or pyriforms and are edible.
The fruits are extremely fragrant, even if not very sweet, the taste of the pulp, soft, was judged halfway between the pineapple and the strawberry, the edible part is still modest in quantity, due to the dominant presence of peel and seeds. The vegetation begins around March; after about 2 months the first flowers appear and the flowering can last from one to two months. The life of a plant can even exceed 70 years.

Cultivation –
Acca sellowiana is a plant widely as a fruit or even ornamental tree.
Its cultivation has been particularly successful, in addition to South America, which is its homeland, in some countries of the former Soviet Union (eg Georgia, Azerbaijan) and in New Zealand. Since the species is often self-sterile, to have fruit it is necessary to grow at least two different varieties or to have plants produced from different seeds for cross-pollination. In the areas of origin the flowers are pollinated by the fly-birds of the genus Thamnophilus and some of the aphids. In Italy pollination is partly entomophilous (diptera) and also anemophilous. The ideal habitat for its cultivation corresponds to that of the olive tree. It does not tolerate low temperatures (lethal 7 ° C below zero). It adapts well to both compact soils, without water stagnations, and to loose ones. For the cultivation technique, the following sheet can be consulted.

Uses and Traditions –
Acca sellowiana is a species that can be used, in windy places, to form hedges of windbreaks. The fruits are extremely fragrant, even if not very sweet, the taste of the pulp, soft, is judged halfway between pineapple and strawberry, the edible part is still modest in quantity, due to the dominant presence of peel and seeds. This plant is also known by the Spanish name of guayabo, a term that in addition to indicating the shrub also serves to indicate young and attractive girls.
The fruit contains few fats, has a high concentration of iodine (3 mg / 100 g of fresh product) and contains no cholesterol. At a dietary level, the fruit provides 70 kcal. for 100 gr. Fresh fruit contains (per 100 gr): proteins – 0,9%, potassium – 166 mg, fats – 0,2%, sodium – 5 mg, carbohydrates – 10%, calcium – 4 mg, niacin, phosphorus – 10 mg , vitamin C – 28-35 mg, Iron – 0,05 mg.
Both the leaves and the fruits (especially the seeds) and the stems have antibacterial properties. The fruits also have antioxidant properties. Besides all these nutritional and organoleptic characteristics, it is important to mention the properties that determine their use in the cosmetic field. The plant extract is rich in active ingredients with emollient, softening, toning, refreshing, elasticizing, dermo purifying and stimulating functions and is used by various companies in the composition of its products.

Preparation Mode –
In the kitchen, the Feijoa is used to make fruit smoothies, jams and ice creams, to flavor wine and liqueurs, to give flavor to yogurt, as well as to give more flavor to risottos and main courses of meat. In New Zealand, for example, Feijoa serves as raw material for over 20 items, including champagne, preserves, fruit juices and essential oils.

Guido Bissanti

Sources
– Acta Plantarum – Flora of the Italian Regions.
– Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
– Treben M., 2000. Health from the Pharmacy of the Lord, Advice and experience with medicinal herbs, Ennsthaler Publisher
– Pignatti S., 1982. Flora of Italy, Edagricole, Bologna.
– Conti F., Abbate G., Alessandrini A., Blasi C. (edited by), 2005. An annotated checklist of the Italian vascular flora, Palombi Editore.

Warning: Pharmaceutical applications and alimurgical uses are indicated for informational purposes only and do not in any way represent a medical prescription; there is therefore no liability for their use for curative, aesthetic or food purposes.




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