Persea americana (Avocado)

The avocado (Persea americana syn. Persea gratissima) belongs to the family Lauraceae. The to 50 feet tall tree has its origin in Southern Mexico and has been cultivated by the Aztecs. Today it is grown worldwide in more than 400 cultivars in the tropics and in South Africa, Israel, California, Chile, Brazil, Peru, Australia and Spain (Malaga and the coast of Granada).

The avocado tree is evergreen and fast-growing and growing in warm, tend to drier areas. The tree bears dark green leaves that are up to 16 inches long. the small greenish-yellow flowers are in terminal or pendant inflorescences. After about 10 years, the tree begin to bear fruit. The avocado fruit itself is rich in unsaturnated fatty acids. Certain varieties are also for medical purposes (for example, used as a bactericide and diarrheal diseases or to control the weight gain due to the high content).

The avocado fruit, actually a berry, is pear-shaped to round depending of variety their leathery outer shell is medium to dark green (which has earned it the same alligator pear), located inside a nucleus, which is approximately as big as one golfball. The pulp is greenish yellow to golden yellow and oxidizes to a dark color when it is exposed to the air - such as this can be prevented in lemon juice contains ascorbic acid by rabid addition of antioxidants.

The fruits are usually offered in the trade still tough, but can be purchased without hesitation as they ripen. If the shell yields slightly to pressure, is the fruit suitable for consumption. The ripening process can be accelerated by ethane ripening when the fruit is stored for example, wrapped in newspaper.

Avocados do not ripen on the tree out in any circumstances, but without picking they fall in the hard "green" state to the ground, where they mature quickly. In cultivation, the fruits are picked, therefore, once they reach a marketable size.

In the German trade is almost exclusively the world's most common type Fuerte found, a pear-shaped avocado with medium green skin and pale yellow, towards the edge greenish pulp. The Fuerte reachs one weight of 250 to 400 g. In otheer countries, e. g. the United States and France, dominates the another cultivar, the Hass. The Hass avocado is not a selected breeding, but a random mutation. The Californian Rudolph Hass found the tree in the 1930s in his garden. From this one Hass avocado tree descended the today trees  that are grown in Israel, California, Mexico, Chile and Spain. The Hass is smaller than the Fuerte, rounded and has a thick, warty skin, where you can not feel for the maturity level. their maturity can be recognized that the dark purple skin discoloration. It weighs 140 to 350 g and tastes more aromatic than the Fuerte.

In our garden there are a large specimen and some smaller.


Still unripen fruit of Persea americana in our garden in December 2009.





Back to the Agricultural Plant List


Updated by Joachim Jaeck on March 10th, 2010