Rhodomyrtus psidioides

Native Guava

Family: Myrtaceae

A shrub or small tree to 12 m high with brown scaly bark. 

It has a purely coastal occurrence in NSW, growing on the central and northern coastal areas, north from around Gosford, with patchy records, along the coast as far as Maryborough in Queensland, with isolated records further north at Rockhampton and Mackay.

It grows in temperate to sub-tropical rainforest as well as rainforest margins. 

It is a listed critically endangered species in the wild – recently listed due to the severe effects of Myrtle Rust. 

Young branchlets are covered in pale hairs.

Rhodomyrtus spp. have simple and opposite leaves. In this species, leaves are to 25 cm long, to 6.5 cm wide; with upper surface hairless and glossy-mid to dark green, and with a paler lower surface; narrow-ovate to elliptic or oblong with a shortly-acuminate apex; with numerous oil glands and conspicuous lateral veins 

Rhodomyrtus spp. have axillary inflorescences, with flowers either solitary or in up to clusters (cymes or racemes) of 11. Flowers have 5 petals and sepals with petals white, pink or red. Stamens are numerous in clusters, surrounding one carpel. 

In this species, flowers are clustered and on a long peduncle to 25 mm long, with flowers to 20 mm wide and stamens to 5 mm long; white to pink in colour.  

The fruit is a berry, ovoid to globose, to 25 mm long, to 15 mm wide, yellow and fleshy.

In the garden

This species has been known to be cultivated for a while.

This species is a hardy-fast growing plant preferring full sun position. However, this species is extremely susceptible to infection by Myrtle Rust. Myrtle Rust affects all plant parts and has severely reduced plant numbers in the wild. Any garden-plants affected should be cut off the plant and bagged-up to be disposed of. 

It is best grown on an enriched soil with organic matter and good moisture. 

The berry of native guava is reportedly edible with a pleasant aromatic flavour although it contains numerous seeds. However, caution is strongly advised as some of the fruit of related species can cause death. 

The tree is fast growing and has an important successional role in rainforest regeneration.


Propagation is from seed, ripening in February to March, which reportedly germinates easily.

Other information

Rhodomyrtus is a group of shrubs and trees in the family Myrtaceae described as a genus in 1841. The genus holds 11 species, occurring in Australia, New Caledonia and China. Eight species are endemic to Australia. 

NSW currently has 1 species. The remainder are in Queensland. 

Rhodomyrtus spp. likely live in habitats where fire is not a regular occurrence. However, this may change in time. These plants are likely detrimented by fire but may be able to regenerate from the seed bank as well as reshooting from stem buds. 

Rhodomyrtus from the Greek rhodon (ῥόδον) meaning “rose” and -myrtos (μύρτος) meaning “myrtle” – referring to the flowering appearance of this myrtle. 

psidioidesLatin – resembling the genus Psidium – the genus of Guava.

This species is listed as critically endangered in the wild, at the State and Commonwealth level, mostly due to Myrtle Rust.

NSW Office of Environment and Heritage Threatened Species Profiles – Rhodomyrtus psidioides https://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/threatenedspeciesapp/profile.aspx?id=20342

NSW Flora online (PlantNET) Rhodomyrtus psidioides profile page: https://plantnet.rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au/cgi-bin/NSWfl.pl?page=nswfl&lvl=sp&name=Rhodomyrtus~psidioides

Australian Rainforest Plants for your Garden. Darren Mansfield 1992 Simon and Schuster. Page 148.

Wrigley, J.W. & Fagg, M.I. (2001). Australian Native Plants – Propagation, cultivation and use in landscaping. 4th edition. New Holland Publishers, Pty. Ltd. Australia.

By Dan Clarke and Jeff Howes.