Endemic Plant Facts - January 2010 - Sintenis' Guava

Illustration of the Sintenis Guava/Hoja Menuda
Illustration: Elbert J. Little; USDA-FS Handbook # 449; 1974.

Sintenis’ Guava (Eng.), Hoja Menuda (Sp.), Psidium sintenisii(Sci.), endemic species, subtropical wet forests, eastern and western mountains, Puerto Rico.

Information compiled by Alan Mowbray, USDA Forest Service,
El Yunque National Forest – 2010.

General Information:

Group- Dicot, Order- Myrtales, Family- Myrtaceae, Genus- Psidium, Species- P. sintenisii. Only known presently from the Sierra de Luquillo and Cordillera Central on the island of Puerto Rico – first specimen collected by P. Sintenis in 1882.

Description:

Sintenis’ Guava is a small evergreen tree that can grow to 30 feet (9 meters) high, with a maximum trunk diameter of 6 inches (15 centimeters). The trunk is slanted and grooved, larger at the bottom, with gray, scaly and shaggy, slightly peeling bark. Branches are slender and hairless, light green in color when young, becoming grayish with age. Elliptical, slightly thickened leaves, 1 ¼ to 2 ½ inches (3.2 to 6.3 centimeters) long, with numerous gland dots, are shiny green on the top surfaces and a less shiny greenish-yellow below. Fragrant single flowers from buds shaped like a child’s top are ¾ inch (1.9 centimeters) long on willowy stems emerging from leaf bases. Green to yellowish colored fruit is pear-shaped, to ¾ inch (1.9 centimeters) long, with calyx ring (protective outer envelope) at the base – the fruit has a hard skin and contains several small seeds. Fruits and fragrant flower buds are collected from spring to autumn.

Habitat:

Rare in Puerto Rico’s upper Luquillo (El Yunque N.F.) forest and Cordillera Central (central mountain corridor)  between 2,500 and 3,000 feet (762 and 914 meters).

Threats:

P. sintenisii is shown as “critically endangered” on the IUCN red list of endangered species.

Additional Information:

Tropical Vegetation Specialist
USDA Forest Service
El Yunque National Forest
HC-01 Box 13490
Rio Grande, PR 00745
Telephone: 787 888 1810

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