Myrtaceae - Rainforest Plants

Myrtle Family

Psidium guajava L., a tree in the Myrtaceae. Note the opposite leaves with veins looping into each other at the margin. The fruits on this specimen are immature; they can reach the size of a softball when ripe. A tree. Note the opposing leaves with veins that are intertwined near the margin. The fruits of this sample are immature; The Myrtaceae are primarily shrubs and understory trees in this area, and they are easy to grow.

to recognize vegetatively. All of the New World species have simple, opposite leaves with punctations (tiny translucent dots of sequestered oil in the leaf, which are visible through a hand lens when the leaf is held up to the light). The crushed leaf has a pleasant, fruity or spicy aroma. The bark is usually whitish or reddish, thin and papery, and often flaking.

Economic uses: Many New World species of Myrtaceae have edible fruit; the best-known is Psidium guajava , the guava or . In Costa Rica you'll also find the most acidic (P. friedrichsthalianum) . The Old World generates Eucalyptus and are widely cultivated as ornamentals and shade trees.

Description: Nearly all Myrtaceae in this area are shrubs and small trees, and it is easy to identify them sterile. All species in this area have simple, opposing leaves with translucent spots (specks of oil inside the leaf, which can be seen against the light with a hand magnifier). The crushed leaf has a sweet smell similar to fruits or spices. The bark is reddish or whitish, thin, and usually scaly.

(1), Psidium (2), Syzygium (1).

FIELD MARKS - opposite, simple leaves, characteristic odor of guava or eucalyptus , secondary veins join near margin > pellucid dots .

Myrtaceae showing flowers with conspicuous white stamens. Psidium guajava (Guava) with opposite leaves

, secondary veins that loop and join near the leaf margin, and pellucid dots.

Close-up of Guava leaf showing pellucid dots (glandular punctations). Psidium friedrichsthalianum is used to make the acidic.

fruit drink known as "cas".

Flowers of Psidium friedrichsthalianum bearing conspicuous white stamens

. Exfoliating bark of Psidium friedrichsthalianum.

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