Garden of Eatin' / Flowers & Herbs / Fruits

Edible Feijoa Flowers

Blooming feijoa branches

I have a beautiful old feijoa tree in my yard, and every spring it attracts flocks of starlings that dance through its leaves. The starlings are hungry for the hundreds of candy red flowers that appear before the fruits set in late summer.

I liken these flowers to nature’s litter — swaying in the breeze, dropping from the tree, and covering the ground with soft, fragrant petals that brighten up the brown bark mulch.

Blooming feijoa branches

Feijoa flowers are one of my favorite edible flowers. A lot of flowers are actually edible, but whether or not they’re palatable (on their own, not just as an accent) is a different story. Feijoa flowers are unusual in that they’re succulent and sweet like marshmallows, with hints of the pineapple/kiwi/mint flavor inherent in feijoa fruits. I’ll often scatter a few flowers over a salad when I’m feeling fancy, or throw some to my chickens with the rest of their greens.

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The flowers also feed the hummingbirds, butterflies, scrub jays, and squirrels that frequent the garden each day. With the onslaught of fruits that I get in the fall — thanks to prolific pollination by the birds and the bees — sometimes I wish they’d eat a little more!

The flowers have fleshy white petals with showy scarlet stamens; they remind me a bit of fuchsia flowers. Pulled apart, the petals look like sea shells with their lightly textured exterior and rosy red interior.

Feijoa flowers

Feijoa petals

Botanically, feijoa (Acca sellowiana) is an evergreen shrub from the Myrtaceae family that can be espaliered or trained into a hedge, but mine has slowly grown into a large tree with a single trunk. It’s a few decades old and has grown to bear resemblance to an olive tree (very Mediterranean looking) with its gnarled trunk, silvery green leaves, and egg-shaped fruits.

Mature feijoa tree

Feijoa shrub trained into a large tree

It’s incredibly drought-tolerant as well, since the only water my feijoa receives is from natural rainfall… and we haven’t had too much of that lately. If you live in a warm climate (zones 8 and up) and want a low-maintenance fruit tree that’s also bird- and bee-friendly, a feijoa is a great pick!

About Author

I'm a plant lover, passionate road-tripper, and cookbook author whose expert advice and bestselling books have been featured in TIME, Outside, HGTV, and Food & Wine. The No-Waste Vegetable Cookbook is my latest book. Garden Betty is where I write about modern homesteading, farm-to-table cooking, and outdoor adventuring — all that encompass a life well-lived outdoors. After all, the secret to a good life is... Read more »

21 Comments

  • […] of starlings singing in our feijoa tree, we hear quail calling from the rabbitbrush. Beach days are now spent on the river or lakes, which […]

    Reply
  • Kerry Maniapoto
    July 28, 2017 at 4:05 pm

    Hi, do you know if the leaves can be ingested, or infused for a tea?

    Reply
    • Linda of Garden Betty
      August 6, 2017 at 12:38 am

      Unfortunately I don’t know the answer to this. I’ve only eaten the flowers and fruits.

      Reply
  • Kahlan Snyder
    April 27, 2015 at 11:07 am

    i have a tree in my back yard i came here to find out what it was i saw a squirrel eating the flowers so i was curious.

    Reply
  • Linda, greenthumbs.eu
    July 12, 2014 at 5:44 pm

    That tree is very pretty, love the gnarly look. I find it fascinating that you can grow so many things outdoors, I’d love to live in a climate like yours. Someday, someday, until then I have to be contend with growing things inside since Swedish summers are all too short and winters too long and cold.

    Reply
    • Linda Ly
      July 15, 2014 at 7:27 pm

      I’m very lucky to have a year-round garden outside, that’s for sure. 🙂

      Reply
  • Rennie B
    July 4, 2014 at 9:07 am

    I have a feijoa bush about 4′ high and wide. It, too, produces abundant, delicious blooms and fruit, but the beauty of those flowers is amazing! I’m in Central FL and love getting ideas from your blog. Got some black raddish seeds to try because of your article on them. Thanks for sharing your delicious gardening life with us.

    Reply
    • Linda Ly
      July 4, 2014 at 2:26 pm

      You’re welcome, and thanks for being here!

      Reply
  • Kimberly Eldredge
    July 1, 2014 at 11:10 am

    I LOVE how you’re always eating the most exciting things! This year, I’ve made a commitment to make syrup from prickly pear cactus fruit (tunas) instead of just munching them trail-side while backpacking.

    Thanks for the inspiration!

    PS: I’ve been enjoying your blog for YEARS but I don’t think I’ve ever commented. I’ll reach out more often.

    Reply
    • Linda Ly
      July 2, 2014 at 3:32 pm

      Prickly pear syrup sounds delectable — it sounds like it would make a great glaze for a roast. Or a vinaigrette or a cocktail flavoring!

      Thank you for reading, and I do hope you’ll comment more. I love to hear who else is out there. 🙂

      Reply
  • RNdiva
    June 30, 2014 at 3:17 pm

    Cool looking plant. Did you start it from seed?

    Reply
    • Linda Ly
      July 2, 2014 at 3:22 pm

      No, my feijoa tree is 20-30 years old. You can usually find small shrubs in a nursery though, if you’re in a warm climate.

      Reply

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