From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
For the place in California, see Avocado, California. For the Pearl Jam album, see Pearl Jam (album).
Close-up picture of foliage and avocado fruit
Avocado fruit and foliage, Réunion island
Ripe avocado fruit and cross-section
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Phylum: Angiosperms
Class: Magnoliids
Order: Laurales
Family: Lauraceae
Genus: Persea
Species: P. americana
Binomial name
Persea americana
Persea gratissima

The avocado (Persea americana) is a tree native to Mexico and Central America,[1]classified in the flowering plant family Lauraceae along with cinnamoncamphor and bay laurelAvocado or alligator pear also refers to the fruitbotanically a large berry that contains a single seed.[2]

Avocados are commercially valuable and are cultivated in tropical and Mediterranean climates throughout the world. They have a green-skinned, fleshy body that may be pear-shaped, egg-shaped, or spherical. Commercially, they ripen after harvesting. Trees are partially self-pollinating and often are propagated through grafting to maintain a predictable quality and quantity of the fruit.




Native “criollo” avocados, the ancestral form of today’s domesticated varieties

Persea americana, or the avocado, originated in the state of Puebla, Mexico. The native, undomesticated variety is known as a criollo, and is small, with dark black skin, and contains a large seed.[3] It likely coevolved with extinct megafauna.[4] The oldest evidence of avocado use was found in a cave located in Coxcatlán, Puebla, Mexico, that dates to around 10,000 BC. The avocado tree also has a long history of cultivation in Central and South America; a water jar shaped like an avocado, dating to AD 900, was discovered in the pre-Incan city of Chan Chan.[5] The earliest known written account of the avocado in Europe is that of Martín Fernández de Enciso (c.1470–c.1528) in 1518 or 1519 in his book, Suma De Geographia Que Trata De Todas Las Partidas Y Provincias Del Mundo.[6][7] The first written record in English of the use of the word ‘avocado’ was by Hans Sloane in a 1696 index of Jamaican plants. The plant was introduced to Indonesia in 1750, Brazil in 1809, the Levant in 1908, and South Africa and Australia in the late 19th century.


The word “avocado” comes from the Spanish aguacate which in turn comes from the Nahuatl word āhuacatl [aːˈwakat͡ɬ],[8] which goes back to the proto-Aztecan *pa:wa with the same meaning.[9] In some countries of South America, such as Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Peru, and Uruguay, the avocado is known by its Quechua name, palta. In other Spanish-speaking countries it is known by the Mexican name and in Portuguese it is abacate. The fruit is sometimes called an avocado pear or alligator pear (due to its shape and the rough green skin of some cultivars). The Nahuatl ahuacatl can be compounded with other words, as in ahuacamolli, meaning avocado soup or sauce, from which the Spanish word guacamole derives.[10]

The modern English name is not etymologically related to the similar sounding Spanish word abogado, meaning ‘lawyer’ (as inadvocate), but comes through an English rendering of the Spanish “aguacate” as “avogato“. The earliest known written use in English is attested from 1697 as “Avogato Pear”, a term which was later corrupted as “alligator pear”.[11] Because the word avogato sounded like “advocate” several languages reinterpreted it to have that meaning and “advocate”-forms of the word appear in several other Germanic languages, such as the German Advogato-Birne, the Swedish advokatpäron, the old Danish advokat-pære (today it is called “avocado”) and the Dutch advocaatpeer.[12] It is known as “butter fruit” in parts of India.[13] In eastern China it is known as è lí (鳄梨, a direct translation of “alligator pear”) or huángyóu guǒ (黄油果, “butter fruit”).


Persea americana, young avocado plant (seedling), complete with parted pit and roots

Food and agriculture
Country Quantity (t) 2011 World Rank[14]
Mexico 1,264,141 1
Chile 368,568 2
Dominican Republic 295,080 3
Indonesia 275,953 4
United States of America 238,544 5
Colombia 215,095 6
Peru 212,857 7
Kenya 201,478 8
Brazil 160,376 9
Rwanda 143,281 10
China 108,500 11

The tree grows to 20 m (66 ft), with alternately arranged leaves 12 centimetres (4.7 in) – 25 centimetres (9.8 in) long. The flowers are inconspicuous, greenish-yellow, 5 millimetres (0.2 in) – 10 millimetres (0.4 in) wide. The pear-shaped fruit is 7 centimetres (2.8 in) – 20 centimetres (7.9 in) long, weighs between 100 grams (3.5 oz) – 1,000 grams (35 oz), and has a large central seed, 5 centimetres (2.0 in) – 6.4 centimetres (2.5 in) long.[15]

The subtropical species needs a climate without frost and with little wind. High winds reduce the humidity, dehydrate the flowers, and affect pollination. When even a mild frost occurs, premature fruit drop may occur, although the Hass cultivar can tolerate temperatures down to −1°C. The trees also need well-aerated soils, ideally more than 1 m deep. Yield is reduced when the irrigation water is highly saline. These soil and climate conditions are available only in a few areas of the world, particularly in southern Spain, Portugal, Morocco, Crete, the Levant, South Africa, Colombia, Peru, parts of central and northern Chile, Vietnam, Indonesia, parts of southern India, Sri Lanka, Australia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Malaysia, Central America, the Caribbean, Mexico, CaliforniaArizonaPuerto RicoTexasFlorida,Hawaii, Ecuador and Rwanda. Each region has different types of cultivars.

Harvest and postharvest[edit]

Commercial orchards produce an average of seven tonnes per hectare each year, with some orchards achieving 20 tonnes per hectare.[16] Biennial bearing can be a problem, with heavy crops in one year being followed by poor yields the next. The avocado tree does not tolerate freezing temperatures, and can be grown only in subtropical or tropical climates. There are several cold-hardy varieties planted in the region of Gainesville, Florida, which survive temperatures as low as −6.5 °C (20 °F) with only minor leaf damage.[citation needed]

The avocado is a climacteric fruit (the banana is another), which means it matures on the tree, but ripens off the tree. Avocados used in commerce are picked hard and green and kept in coolers at 3.3 to 5.6 °C (37.9 to 42.1 °F) until they reach their final destination. Avocados must be mature to ripen properly. Avocados that fall off the tree ripen on the ground. Generally, the fruit is picked once it reaches maturity; Mexican growers pick Hass-variety avocados when they have more than 23% dry matter, and other producing countries have similar standards. Once picked, avocados ripen in one to two weeks (depending on the cultivar) at room temperature(faster if stored with other fruits such as apples or bananas, because of the influence of ethylene gas). Some supermarkets sell pre-ripened avocados which have been treated with synthetic ethylene to hasten ripening.[17] The use of an ethylene gas “ripening room”, which is now an “industry standard,” was pioneered in the 1980s by farmer Gil Henry of Escondido, California, in response to footage from a hidden supermarket camera which showed shoppers repeatedly squeezing hard, unripe avocados, putting them “back in the bin,” and moving on without making a purchase.[18] In some cases avocados can be left on the tree for several months, which is an advantage to commercial growers who seek the greatest return for their crop; but if the fruit remains unpicked for too long it falls to the ground.


A seedless avocado, or cuke, growing next to two regular avocados

The species is only partially able to self-pollinate because of dichogamy in its flowering. This limitation, added to the long juvenile period, makes the species difficult to breed. Most cultivars are propagated via grafting, having originated from random seedling plants or minor mutations derived from cultivars. Modern breeding programs tend to use isolation plots where the chances of cross-pollination are reduced. That is the case for programs at the University of California, Riverside, as well as the Volcani Centre and the Instituto de Investigaciones Agropecuarias in Chile.

The avocado is unusual in that the timing of the male and female flower phases differs among cultivars. There are two flowering types, “A” and “B”. “A” cultivar flowers open as female on the morning of the first day and close in late morning or early afternoon. Then they open as male in the afternoon of the second day. “B” varieties open as female on the afternoon of the first day, close in late afternoon and reopen as male the following morning.

  • “A” cultivars: Hass, Gwen, Lamb Hass, Pinkerton, Reed.
  • “B” cultivars: Fuerte, Sharwil, Zutano, Bacon, Ettinger, Sir Prize, Walter Hole.[19][20]

Certain cultivars, such as the Hass, have a tendency to bear well only in alternate years. After a season with a low yield, due to factors such as cold (which the avocado does not tolerate well), the trees tend to produce abundantly the next season. In addition, due to environmental circumstances during some years, seedless avocados may appear on the trees.[21] Known in the avocado industry as “cukes”, they are usually discarded commercially due to their small size.[22]

Propagation and rootstocks[edit]

Avocado is usually treated with a special technique to assist its sprouting process

A young avocado sprout

Avocados can be propagated by seed, taking roughly four to six years to bear fruit, although in some cases seedlings can take 10 years to come into bearing.[23] The offspring is unlikely to be identical to the parent cultivar in fruit quality. Prime quality varieties are therefore propagated by grafting to rootstocks that are propagated by seed (seedling rootstocks) or by layering (clonal rootstocks). After about a year of growing in a greenhouse, the young rootstocks are ready to be grafted. Terminal and lateral grafting is normally used. The scion cultivar grows for another 6–12 months before the tree is ready to be sold. Clonal rootstocks are selected for tolerance of specific soil and disease conditions, such as poor soil aeration or resistance to the soil-borne disease (root rot) caused by Phytophthora.

Growing indoors[edit]

Usually, avocados are grown from pits indoors. This is often done by removing the pit from a ripe, unrefrigerated avocado. The pit is then stabbed with three or four toothpicks, about one third of the way up. The pit is placed in a jar or vase containing tepid water. It should split in four to six weeks and yield roots and a sprout. If there is no change by this time, the avocado pit is discarded. Once the stem has grown a few inches, it is placed in a pot with soil. It should be watered every few days. Avocados have been known to grow large, so owners must be ready to repot the plant several times.


P. americana, avocado plant flowers

Avocado trees are vulnerable to bacterialviralfungal and nutritional diseases (excesses and deficiencies of key minerals). Disease can affect all parts of the plant, causing spotting, rotting, cankers, pitting and discoloration.[24]

Cultivation in California[edit]

The avocado was introduced from Mexico to California in the 19th century, and has become a successful cash crop. About 59,000 acres (240 km2) – some 95% of United States avocado production – is located in Southern California, with 60% in San Diego County.[25][26] Fallbrook, California, claims the title of “Avocado Capital of the World” (also claimed by the town of UruapanMichoacánMéxico[27]), and both Fallbrook andCarpinteria, California, host annual avocado festivals.

Cultivation in Mexico[edit]

Mexico produces most of the world’s avocado,[28] and avocado is one of the primary cultivars for export, the eighth cultivar by production volume. In 2013 the total area dedicated to avocado production was 168,155 hectares (415,520 acres), and the harvest was of 1,109,814 tonnes.[29] The states that produce the most are México, Morelos, Nayarit og Puebla, and Michoacan which accounts for 86% of the total.[30] In Michoacan the cultivation is complicated by the existence of drug cartels that extort protection fees from cultivators. They are reported to exact 2000 Mexican pesos per hectar from avocado farmers and an additional 1 to 3 pesos per kilo of harvested fruit.[31]

A cultivars[edit]

Two Hass avocados

A seedling from Miami, Florida, on the property of Remi Choquette. Now a favored commercial cultivar in south Florida.
While dozens of cultivars are grown, the Hass avocado is today the most common. It produces fruit year-round and accounts for 80% of cultivated avocados in the world.[7][32]All Hass avocado trees are descended from a single “mother tree” raised by a mail carrier named Rudolph Hass, of La Habra Heights, California.[6][32] Hass patented the productive tree in 1935. The “mother tree”, of uncertain subspecies, died of root rot and was cut down in September, 2002.[7][32][33] Hass trees have medium-sized (150–250 g or 5.3–8.8 oz), ovate fruit with a black, pebbled skin. The flesh has a nutty, rich flavor with 19% oil. A hybrid Guatemalan type can withstand temperatures to −1 °C (30 °F).
A seedling bred from Hass x Thille in 1982, Gwen is higher yielding and more dwarfing than Hass in California. The fruit has an oval shape, slightly smaller than Hass (100–200 g or 3.5–7.1 oz), with a rich, nutty flavor. The skin texture is more finely pebbled than Hass, and is dull green when ripe. It is frost-hardy down to −1 °C (30 °F).
A seedling reportedly grown from a “Taft” avocado planted in Miami, Florida, on the property of George Cellon, named after Cellon’s wife, Lula. It was likely a cross between Mexican and Guatemalan types. Lula was recognized for its flavor and high oil content and propagated commercially in Florida. It is also very commonly used as a rootstock for nursery production. Hardy to −4 °C (25 °F)
First grown on the Pinkerton Ranch in Saticoy, California, in the early 1970s, Pinkerton is a seedling of Hass’s Rincon. The large fruit has a small seed, and its green skin deepens in color as it ripens. The thick flesh has a smooth, creamy texture, pale green color, good flavor and high oil content. It shows some cold tolerance, to −1 °C (30 °F) and bears consistently heavy crops. A hybrid Guatemalan type, it has excellent peeling characteristics.
Developed from a chance seedling found in 1948 by James S. Reed in California, Reed has large, round, green fruit with a smooth texture and dark, thick, glossy skin. Smooth and delicate, the flesh has a slightly nutty flavor. The skin ripens green. A Guatemalan type, it is hardy to −1 °C (30 °F). Tree size is about 5 by 4 meters (16.4 by 13.1 ft).

B cultivars[edit]

Developed by a farmer, James Bacon, in 1954, Bacon has medium-sized fruit with smooth, green skin with yellow-green, light tasting flesh. When ripe, the skin remains green, but darkens slightly, and fruit yields to gentle pressure. It is cold-hardy down to −5 °C (23 °F).
Possibly a cross between Mexican and West Indian types, Brogden originated as a seedling grown in Winter Haven, Florida on the property of Tom W. Brogden. The variety was recognized for its cold-hardiness to −5 °C (23 °F) and became commercially propagated as nursery-stock for home growing. It is noted for its dark purple skin at maturity.
A Mexican/Guatemalan cross seedling of Fuerte, this cultivar originated in Israel, and was put into production there in 1947. Mature trees tolerate four hours at −6 °C (21 °F). The fruit has a smooth, thin, green skin that does not peel easily. The flesh is very pale green.

Avocado fruit (cv. ‘Fuerte’); left: whole, right: in section

A Mexican/Guatemalan cross originating in Puebla, the Fuerte earned its name, which means strong in Spanish, after it withstood a severe frost in California in 1913. Hardy to −3 °C (27 °F), it has medium-sized, pear-shaped fruit with a green, leathery, easy to peel skin. The creamy flesh of mild and rich flavour has 18% oil. The skin ripens green. Tree size is 6 by 4 meters (19.7 by 13.1 ft).
A Guatemalan/West Indian cross that originated from a seedling grown in Homestead, Florida on the property of J.J.L. Phillips, it was patented in 1937 and became a major commercial cultivar due to its cold hardiness and production qualities. The fruit is large, averaging over two pounds (0.91 kg) in weight, has an elliptical shape, and green, glossy skin. Hardy to −3 °C (27 °F).
Predominantly Guatemalan, with some Mexican race genes, Sharwil was selected in 1951 by Sir Frank Sharpe at Redland Bay, southern Queensland, Australia. The name “Sharwil” is an amalgamation of Sharp and Wilson (J.C. Wilson being the first propagator). Scions were sent from Australia to Hawaii in 1966. A medium-sized fruit with rough green skin, it closely resembles the Fuerte, but is slightly more oval in shape. The fruit has greenish-yellow flesh with a rich, nutty flavor and high oil content (20–24%), and a small seed. The skin is green when ripe. It represents more than 57% of the commercial farming in Hawaii, and represents up to 20% of all avocados grown in New South Wales, Australia. It is a regular and moderate bearer with excellent quality fruit, but is sensitive to frost. Disease and pest resistance are superior to Fuerte.
Originated by R.L. Ruitt in Fallbrook in 1926, this Mexican variety is hardy to −4 °C (25 °F). The large, pear-shaped fruit has a shiny, thin, yellow-green skin that peels moderately easily. The flesh is pale green with fibers and has a light flavor.

Other cultivars[edit]

Other avocado cultivars include Spinks. The fruit of the cultivar Florida, grown mostly outside California, is larger and rounder, with a smooth, medium-green skin, and a less-fatty, firmer and fibrous flesh. These are occasionally marketed as low-calorie avocados. Historically attested varieties (which may or may not survive among Horticulturists) include the Challenge, Dickinson, Kist, Queen, Rey, Royal, Sharpless, and Taft.[34]

Avocado-related international trade issues[edit]

First international air shipment of avocados from Los Angeles, California, toToronto, Ontario, for the Canadian National Exhibition

After the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) went into effect in 1994, Mexico tried exporting avocados to the US. The US government resisted, claiming the trade would introduce Tephritidae fruit flies that would destroy California’s crops. The Mexican government responded by inviting USDA inspectors to Mexico, but the U.S. government declined, claiming fruit fly inspection was not feasible. The Mexican government then proposed to sell avocados only to the northeastern US in the winter (fruit flies cannot withstand extreme cold). The US government balked, but gave in when the Mexican government started erecting barriers to US corn.

Today, avocados from Mexico are allowed throughout the US, because USDA inspectors inMichoacán (where 90% of Hass avocados from Mexico are grown) inspected fruit inUruapan. Imports from Mexico in the 2005–2006 season exceeded 130,000 metric tons(143,300 short tons; 127,900 long tons).[35][36]

In 2009, Peru joined Chile and Mexico as an exporter of avocados to the US.[37]

In the US avocados are grown in California and Florida, where land, labor and water are expensive. Avocado trees require frequent, deep watering to bear optimally, particularly in spring, summer, and fall. Due to increased Southern Californian water costs, they are now costly to grow. California produces 90% of the United States’ avocados.[25]

As of 2013, Mexico leads international exports, with other significant production in California, New Zealand, Peru and South Africa.

Culinary uses[edit]

This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this articleby adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.(March 2009)
Avocados, raw
Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy 670 kJ (160 kcal)
Carbohydrates 8.53 g
– Sugars 0.66 g
– Dietary fiber 6.7 g
Fat 14.66 g
– saturated 2.13 g
– monounsaturated 9.80 g
– polyunsaturated 1.82 g
Protein 2 g
Water 73.23 g
Vitamin A equiv. 7 μg (1%)
– beta-carotene 62 μg (1%)
– lutein and zeaxanthin 271 μg
Thiamine (vit. B1) 0.067 mg (6%)
Riboflavin (vit. B2) 0.13 mg (11%)
Niacin (vit. B3) 1.738 mg (12%)
Pantothenic acid (B5) 1.389 mg (28%)
Vitamin B6 0.257 mg (20%)
Folate (vit. B9) 81 μg (20%)
Vitamin C 10 mg (12%)
Vitamin E 2.07 mg (14%)
Vitamin K 21 μg (20%)
Calcium 12 mg (1%)
Iron 0.55 mg (4%)
Magnesium 29 mg (8%)
Manganese 0.142 mg (7%)
Phosphorus 52 mg (7%)
Potassium 485 mg (10%)
Sodium 7 mg (0%)
Zinc 0.64 mg (7%)
Fluoride 7 µg
Link to USDA Database entry
Percentages are roughly approximated
using US recommendations for adults.
Source: USDA Nutrient Database

The fruit of horticultural cultivars has a markedly higher fat content than most other fruit, mostly monounsaturated fat, and as such serves as an important staple in the diet of various groups where access to other fatty foods (high-fat meats and fish, dairy products, etc.) is limited.

A ripe avocado yields to gentle pressure when held in the palm of the hand and squeezed. The flesh is prone to enzymatic browning; it turns brown quickly after exposure to air.[38]To prevent this, lime or lemon juice can be added to avocados after they are peeled.

Indonesian-style avocado milkshake with chocolate syrup

The fruit is not sweet, but rich, and distinctly yet subtly flavored, and of smooth, almost creamy texture. It is used in both savory and sweet dishes, though in many countries not for both. The avocado is very popular invegetarian cuisine, as substitute for meats in sandwiches and salads because of its high fat content.

Generally, avocado is served raw, though some cultivars, including the common Hass, can be cooked for a short time without becoming bitter. Caution should be used when cooking with untested cultivars; the flesh of some avocados may be rendered inedible by heat. Prolonged cooking induces this chemical reaction in all cultivars.[39]

It is used as the base for the Mexican dip known asguacamole, as well as a spread on corn tortillas or toast, served with spices.

In the PhilippinesBrazilIndonesiaVietnam, and southern India (especially the coastal Kerala and Karnataka region), avocados are frequently used for milkshakes and occasionally added to ice cream and other desserts. InBrazilVietnam, the Philippines[40] and Indonesia, a dessert drink is made with sugar, milk or water, and pureed avocado. Chocolate syrup is sometimes added. In Morocco, there is a similar chilled avocado and milk drink, that is sweetened with confectioner’s sugar and hinted with orange flower water.

In Ethiopia, avocados are made into juice by mixing them with sugar and milk or water, usually served with Vimto and a slice of lemon. It is also very common to serve layered multiple fruit juices in a glass (locally called Spris) made of avocados, mangoes, bananas, guavas and papayas. Avocados are also used to make salads.

Avocados in savory dishes, often seen as exotic, are a relative novelty in Portuguese-speaking countries, such as Brazil, where the traditional preparation is mashed with sugar and lime, and eaten as a dessert or snack. This contrasts with Spanish-speaking countries, such as Mexico or Argentina, where the opposite is true and sweet preparations are often unheard of.

In Australia and New Zealand, it is commonly served in sandwiches, sushi, on toast, or with chicken. In Ghana, it is often eaten alone in sliced bread as a sandwich. In Sri Lanka, well ripened flesh, thoroughly mashed with sugar and milk, or treacle (a syrup made from the nectar of a particular palm flower) was once a popular dessert. In Haiti it is often consumed with cassava or regular bread for breakfast.

In Mexico and Central America, avocados are served mixed with white rice, in soups, salads, or on the side of chicken and meat. In Peru, they are consumed with tequeños as mayonnaise, served as a side dish with parrillas, used in salads and sandwiches, or as a whole dish when filled with tuna, shrimp, or chicken. In Chile, it is used as a puree with chicken, hamburgers, and hot dogs; and in slices for celery or lettuce salads. The Chilean version of Caesar salad contains large slices of mature avocado. In Kenya and Nigeria, the avocado is often eaten as a fruit, and is eaten alone, or mixed with other fruits in a fruit salad, or as part of a vegetable salad. In Iran, it is used as a rejuvenating facial cream.

Avocado slices are frequently added to hamburgers, tortashot dogs, and carne asada. Avocado can be combined with eggs (in scrambled eggs, tortillas or omelettes), and is a key ingredient in California rolls and other makizushi (“maki”, or rolled sushi).

In southern Africa, Avocado Ritz is a common dish.[41]

In the United Kingdom, the avocado became widely available in the 1960s when it was introduced by Sainsbury’s under the name ‘avocado pear’.[42]

Nutritional value[edit]

Avocados have diverse fats.[43] For a typical avocado:

High avocado intake was shown in one preliminary study to lower blood cholesterol levels. Specifically, after a seven-day diet rich in avocados, mild hypercholesterolemia patients showed a 17% decrease in total serum cholesterol levels. These subjects also showed a 22% decrease in both LDL (harmful cholesterol) and triglyceride levels and 11% increase in HDL (helpful cholesterol) levels.[46] A 2013epidemiological report showed that American avocado consumers had better overall diet quality, nutrient levels, and reduced risk ofmetabolic syndrome.[47]

Extracts of avocado have been studied in laboratory research to assess potential for lowering risk of diabetes mellitus.[48]

A Japanese team synthesised the four chiral components of avocado, and identified (2R, 4R)-16-heptadecene-1, 2, 4-triol as a potentialantibacterial component.[49] Due to a combination of specific aliphatic acetogenins, avocado is under preliminary research for potential anti-cancer activity.[50]

As a houseplant[edit]

This section possibly contains original research. Please improve it by verifying the claims made and adding inline citations. Statements consisting only of original research may be removed. (May 2012)

20cm avocado houseplant leaf

While not particularly popular, the avocado tree can be grown domestically and used as a (decorative) houseplant. The pit germinates in normal soil conditions or partially submerged in a container of water. In the latter method, the pit sprouts in four to six weeks, at which time it is planted in fertile soil such as potting soil. The plant normally grows large enough to be prunable; however, it does not bear fruit unless it has ample sunlight. Home gardeners can graft a branch from a fruit-bearing plant to speed maturity, which typically takes four to six years to bear fruit. To obtain fresh avocado produce, however, more than one tree must be cultivated for crosspollination.[51]


Some people have allergic reactions to avocado. There are two main forms of allergy: those with a tree-pollen allergy develop local symptoms in the mouth and throat shortly after eating avocado; the second, known as latex-fruit syndrome,[52] is related to latex allergy[53] and symptoms include generalised urticaria, abdominal pain, and vomiting and can sometimes be life-threatening.[54]

Toxicity to animals[edit]

Avocado leaves, bark, skin, or pit are documented to be harmful to animals; cats, dogs, cattle, goats, rabbits,[55] rats, guinea pigs, birds, fish, and horses[26][56] can be severely harmed or even killed when they consume them. The avocado fruit is poisonous to some birds, and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) lists it as toxic to many animals including cats, dogs, and horses.[57]

Avocado leaves contain a toxic fatty acid derivative, persin, which in sufficient quantity can cause colic in horses and, without veterinary treatment, death.[58] The symptoms include gastrointestinal irritation, vomiting, diarrhoea, respiratory distress, congestion, fluid accumulation around the tissues of the heart, and even death. Birds also seem to be particularly sensitive to this toxic compound. A line of premium dog and cat food, AvoDerm, uses oils and meal made from avocado meat as main ingredients.[59] The manufacturer says the avocado’s leaves and pit are the source of toxicity, and only in the Guatemalan variety of avocados, and the fruit is often eaten by orchard dogs as well as wildlife such as bears and coyotes.[60]


In 1982, the evolutionary biologist Daniel H. Janzen suggested that the avocado may be an example of an ‘evolutionary anachronism‘, a fruit adapted for ecological relationship with now-extinct large mammals (such as giant ground sloths or gomphotheres). Most large fleshy fruits serve the function of seed dispersal, accomplished by their consumption by large animals. There are some reasons to think that the fruit, with its mildly toxic pit, may have co-evolved with Pleistocene megafauna to be swallowed whole and excreted in their dung, ready to sprout. No extant native animal is large enough to effectively disperse avocado seeds in this fashion.[61][62]

See also[edit]


  1. Jump up^ Chen, H.; Morrell, P. L.; Ashworth, V. E. T. M.; De La Cruz, M.; Clegg, M. T. (2008). “Tracing the Geographic Origins of Major Avocado Cultivars”. Journal of Heredity 100 (1): 56–65.doi:10.1093/jhered/esn068PMID 18779226.
  2. Jump up^ Storey, W. B. “What kind of fruit is the avocado?”California Avocado Society 1973–74 Yearbook 57: 70–71.
  3. Jump up^ Villanueva, M. and Verti, S. “El aguacate: Oro verde de México, orgullo de Michoacán”Gobierno del Estado de Michoacán. Retrieved 2020-06-06.
  4. Jump up^ Smith, K. Annabelle. “Why the Avocado Should Have Gone the Way of the Dodo”Smithsonian MagazineThe Smithsonian. Retrieved 25 October 2013.
  5. Jump up^ Barry, PC (2001-04-07). “Avocado: The Early Roots of Avocado History”. Canku Ota. Archived from the original on 15 December 2007. Retrieved 2007-12-29.
  6. Jump up to:a b “Avocado History”IndexFresh.comBloomington, CA: Index Fresh Avocado. 2007. Archived from the original on December 25, 2007. Retrieved 2007-12-29.[unreliable source?]
  7. Jump up to:a b c Stradley, Linda (2004). “All About Avocados: History of the Hass Avocado”What’sCookingAmerica.netNewberg, OR: self-published. Retrieved 2008-05-13. While this is a self-published work, it cites its sources, and Stradley is a well-known culinary author.
  8. Jump up^ Nahuatl Dictionary/Diccionario del náhuatl. Whp.uoregon.edu. Retrieved on 2013-07-25.
  9. Jump up^ Dakin, Karen (1982). La evolución fonológica del Protonáhuatl. México D.F.: Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Instituto de Investigaciones Filológicas. p. 210. ISBN 968-5802-92-0OCLC 10216962. (Spanish)
  10. Jump up^ “Avocado”. Thefloweringgarden.com. 2007-08-08.Archived from the original on 10 May 2010. Retrieved 2010-05-12.
  11. Jump up^ Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd edition (1989), articles “avocado”, “alligator, n.2”
  12. Jump up^ Svenska Akademiens ordbok, “advokat“; Ordbog over det danske Sprog, “avocado“; Woordenboek der Nederlandsche Taal, “avocado“, all meaning “advocate pear”.
  13. Jump up^ “Avocado holds promise for Wayanad farmers”. The Hindu. 2010-04-16.
  14. Jump up to:a b FAO (2011) Major Producers of Avocado
  15. Jump up^ Dowling, Curtis F.; Morton, Julia Frances (1987). Fruits of warm climates. Miami, Fla: J.F. Morton. ISBN 0-9610184-1-0.
  16. Jump up^ Whiley, A (2000-09-01). “Avocado Production in Australia”.Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.Archived from the original on 12 January 2008. Retrieved 2007-12-29.
  17. Jump up^ “Ethylene gas and produce”. Mindfully.org. 1976-06-01.Archived from the original on 26 May 2010. Retrieved 2010-05-12.
  18. Jump up^ Steve Chawkins (2013-06-03). “Gil Henry dies at 88; revolutionized avocado industry; Henry pioneered the use of a ‘ripening room’ at his family’s Escondido farm. The method, now an industry standard, allows markets to sell fruit that is ready to eat or close to it.”Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2013-06-04.
  19. Jump up^ “Agriculture Handbook”University of California. 2007.Archived from the original on 17 December 2007. Retrieved 2007-12-29.
  20. Jump up^ Crane, JH; Balerdi CF, Maguire I (2007-08-01). “Avocado Growing in the Florida Home Landscape”University of FloridaArchived from the original on 13 January 2008. Retrieved 2007-12-29.
  21. Jump up^ Blumenfeld, Amos; Gazit, Shmuel. “Development of Seeded and Seedless Avocado Fruit”Agricultural Research Organization, Volcani Center, Bet-Dagan, Israel. Retrieved 2010-09-21.
  22. Jump up^ Stewart, W.S.; Smoyer, K.M.; Puffer, R.E. “Progress Report on Effects of Plant Growth Regulator Sprays on Avocados”.California Avocado Society 1948 Yearbook 33: 113–116. Retrieved 2010-09-21.
  23. Jump up^ Boning, Charles (2006). Florida’s Best Fruiting Plants: Native and Exotic Trees, Shrubs, and Vines. Sarasota, Florida: Pineapple Press, Inc. p. 33.
  24. Jump up^ Ohr, HD; Coffer MD & McMillan RT (2003-08-04). “Common Names of Plant Diseases”. American Phytopathological Society. Archived from the original on April 23, 2008. Retrieved 2008-05-13.
  25. Jump up to:a b “Avocado Fun Facts”. California Avocado Commission. Retrieved 2012-04-18.
  26. Jump up to:a b Clipsham, R. “Avocado Toxicity”Archived from the original on 12 January 2008. Retrieved 2007-12-29.
  27. Jump up^ http://www.uruapaninteractivo.com/uruapan.htm
  28. Jump up^http://www.novagrim.com/Pages/2000_2011_avocado_statistics_EN.aspx
  29. Jump up^ http://www.siap.gob.mx/index.php?option=com_wrapper&view=wrapper&Itemid=56
  30. Jump up^http://w4.siap.sagarpa.gob.mx/sispro/IndModelos/SP_AG/aguacate/Descripcion.pdf
  31. Jump up^ http://aristeguinoticias.com/3010/mexico/templarios-ganan-2000-mdp-al-ano-extorsionando-a-aguacateros-en-michoacan/
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  33. Jump up^ “Avocado Tree’s Demise Is the Pits for Growers; Fitting farewell sought for ‘mother'”Los Angeles Times, September 7, 2003.
  34. Jump up^ Overholser, E. L. (1924–25). “Cold Storage Behavior of Avocados”California Avocado Association Annual Report(San Diego, CA: California Avocado Association) 10: 32–40. Retrieved August 19, 2009.
  35. Jump up^ “Mexico praises lifting of last U.S. avocado import barriers”. International International Herald Tribune. 2007-02-02.Archived from the original on 18 January 2008. Retrieved 2007-12-29.
  36. Jump up^ See Talk:Avocado#Clarification re use of “metric ton”
  37. Jump up^ “The productivity connection behind openness”. Trade and Poverty in Latin America (COPLA). 2009-05-05. Retrieved 2009-05-20.
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  39. Jump up^ Bates, Robert P. (1970). “HEAT-INDUCED OFF-FLAVOR IN AVOCADO FLESH”. Journal of Food Science 35 (4): 478.doi:10.1111/j.1365-2621.1970.tb00962.x.
  40. Jump up^ Zeldes, Leah A. (2010-06-02). “Eat this! The ‘Hass’ avocado, black and green and creamy”Dining Chicago. Chicago’s Restaurant & Entertainment Guide, Inc. Retrieved 2010-06-20.
  41. Jump up^ Avocado Ritz recipe. rainbownation.com (24 July 2013)
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  44. Jump up^ “Fatty acids found in avocado oil”. Esoteric Oils. 14 November 2011. Retrieved 2013-04-24.
  45. Jump up^ Naveh E, Werman MJ, Sabo E, Neeman I (2002). “Defatted avocado pulp reduces body weight and total hepatic fat but increases plasma cholesterol in male rats fed diets with cholesterol”. J. Nutr. 132 (7): 2015–8. PMID 12097685.
  46. Jump up^ Lopez Ledesma, R; Frati Munari, A C: Hernandez Dominguez, B C: Cervantes Montalvo, S: Hernandez Luna, M H: Juarez, C: Moran Lira, S (1996 Winter). “Monounsaturated fatty acid (avocado) rich diet for mild hypercholesterolemia”. Arch-Med-Res. 27 (4): 519–23. PMID 8987188.
  47. Jump up^ Fulgoni, V. L.; Dreher, M.; Davenport, A. J. (2013). “Avocado consumption is associated with better diet quality and nutrient intake, and lower metabolic syndrome risk in US adults: Results from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2001–2008”Nutrition Journal 12: 1.doi:10.1186/1475-2891-12-1PMC 3545982.PMID 23282226edit
  48. Jump up^ Gondwe, M.; Kamadyaapa, D. R.; Tufts, M. A.; Chuturgoon, A. A.; Ojewole, J. A.; Musabayane, C. T. (2008). “Effects of Persea americana Mill (Lauraceae) [“Avocado”] ethanolic leaf extract on blood glucose and kidney function in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats and on kidney cell lines of the proximal (LLCPK1) and distal tubules (MDBK)”. Methods Find Exp Clin Pharmacol30 (1): 25–35. doi:10.1358/mf.2008.30.1.1147769.PMID 18389095.
  49. Jump up^ Sugiyama, Takeyoshi; Sato, Akemi and Yamashita, Kyohei (1982). “Synthesis of All Four Stereoisomers of Antibacterial Component of Avocado”. Agricultural and Biological Chemistry46 (2): 481–485. doi:10.1271/bbb1961.46.481.
  50. Jump up^ D’Ambrosio, S. M.; Han, C.; Pan, L.; Kinghorn, A. D.; Ding, H. (2011). “Aliphatic acetogenin constituents of avocado fruits inhibit human oral cancer cell proliferation by targeting the EGFR/RAS/RAF/MEK/ERK1/2 pathway”. Biochem Biophys Res Commun 409 (3): 465–469. doi:10.1016/j.bbrc.2011.05.027.
  51. Jump up^ “Growing Avocado As A House Plant”. Basic Garden Tips. Retrieved 2012-05-15.
  52. Jump up^ Brehler R, Theissen U, Mohr C, Luger T (April 1997). “”Latex-fruit syndrome”: frequency of cross-reacting IgE antibodies”.Allergy 52 (4): 404–10. doi:10.1111/j.1398-9995.1997.tb01019.xPMID 9188921.
  53. Jump up^ “Latex allergy”Better Health Channel.
  54. Jump up^ “General Information for Avocado”InformAll Database.
  55. Jump up^ Appleman, D. (1944). “Preliminary Report on Toxicity of Avocado Leaves” (PDF). Retrieved 2012-10-09.
  56. Jump up^ “Notes on poisoning: avocado”. Canadian Biodiversity Information Facility. 2006-06-30. Archived from the original on 14 January 2008. Retrieved 2007-12-29.
  57. Jump up^ “Avocado”ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center.
  58. Jump up^ Oelrichs PB, Ng JC, Seawright AA, Ward A, Schäffeler L, MacLeod JK (1995). “Isolation and identification of a compound from avocado (Persea americana) leaves that causes necrosis of the acinar epithelium of the lactating mammary gland and the myocardium”. Nat. Toxins 3 (5): 344–9.doi:10.1002/nt.2620030504PMID 8581318.
  59. Jump up^ Greye, Jan; Jesse Smith, Gail (2002). Puppy Parenting: Everything You Need to Know About Your Puppy’s First Year. HarperCollins. p. 135. ISBN 0060012609
  60. Jump up^ AvoDerm“AvoDerm® Why Avocados?”. Retrieved August 12, 2013
  61. Jump up^ Cited in Barlow, Connie C. (2000). The ghosts of evolution: nonsensical fruit, missing partners, and other ecological anachronisms. New York: Basic Books. ISBN 0-465-00551-9.
  62. Jump up^ Wolstenholme, B. N. and Whiley, A. W. (1999). “Ecophysiology of the avocado (Persea americana Mill.) tree as a basis for pre-harvest management”Revista Chapingo Serie Horticultura5: 77–88.

Further reading[edit]

  • Bruce Shaffer, B. Nigel Wolstenhome and Anthony W. Whiley, ed. (2012). The Avocado: Botany, Production and Uses. CABI.ISBN 9781845937010.

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Persea americana.
Look up avocado in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.
Wikibooks Cookbook has a recipe/module on

Wikisource has the text of the1911 Encyclopædia Britannicaarticle Avocado Pear.

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