Persea americana (Lauraceae family)
Fruiting season: August – November
Height: large tree (40 – 80 ft)
Relatives: cinnamon, camphor, bay laurel
Avocado has a long history of cultivation in Central and South America. It is believed that Mesoamerican tribes first domesticated the tree over 5000 years ago. Currently there are over 500 varieties of avocado with three main types: West Indian, Guatemalan, and Mexican. Approximately 200 varieties are grown today in Hawaii.
The avocado tree requires well-drained soils. Flowers are produced in late winter or spring and the fruit matures from 6 – 18 months, depending on location and variety. Shading and wind protection of young trees is important to help them establish.
The avocado fruit varies in size and shape with some varieties reaching 14” in length. The fruit may be round, pear shaped, or oblong, and the skin may vary in texture and color. The interior ranges from bright yellow, to yellow-green, to pale green. The fruits have a smooth, creamy texture and a delicate, nutty flavor. Depending on the variety, avocados have different moisture and oil content and are rich in vitamins and minerals.