Persea americana – Avocado
Other Common Names: Alligator Pear
Persea Americana is fast-growing tropical or subtropical tree that is a member of Lauraceae, a flowering plant family. It is commonly known as avocado, but is also referred to as butter pear, alligator pear, palta, midshipman’s butter, vegetable butter, or ahuacati.
In ideal conditions, it can grow up to 80 feet, but it usually grows from 3o to 65 feet or 9 to 20 meters tall. Avocado trees normally have dense foliages and have a spreading growth form. If not pruned, they develop an oval or rounded shape. They are commonly cultivated in Mediterranean and tropical climates all over the world as they are considered to be commercially valuable.
The leaves of the avocado trees are arranged alternately, growing from 12 to 25 centimeters or 4.7 to 9.8 inches long. They are elliptical and have glossy dark green color above, and a paler green color on the underside.
Flowers usually grow during winter in large clusters, consisting of about 300 flowers. They are inconspicuous, with a greenish-yellow color, and grow from 5 to 10 millimeters or 0.2 to 0.4 inches wide. They develop into pear-shaped fruits that can be 7 to 20 centimeters or 2.8 to 7.9 inches long. Each fruit can weight between 100 t0 1,000 grams or 3.5 to 35.3 ounces. The flesh of the avocado fruit is colored yellow to light green and it has a large, brown seed.
The fruit is edible and is in fact, very delicious. It is soft and buttery, that is why it is also referred to as the butter pear because of its shape and texture. However, the other parts of the plant, such as the fruit skin, seeds, leaves, and bark, can be poisonous and should not be ingested in any way.