Temporal range: 15–0 Ma Middle Miocene – Recent
Close-up picture of foliage and avocado fruit
Avocado fruit and foliage, Réunion island
Avocado with cross section edit.jpg
Scientific classification
Species:P. americana
Binomial name
Persea americana
  • Laurus persea L.
  • Persea americana var. angustifolia Miranda
  • Persea americana var. drymifolia (Cham. & Schltdl.) S.F.Blake
  • Persea americana var. nubigena (L.O.Williams) L.E.Kopp
  • Persea drymifolia Cham. & Schltdl.
  • Persea edulis Raf.
  • Persea floccosa Mez
  • Persea gigantea L.O.Williams
  • Persea gratissima C.F.Gaertn.
  • Persea gratissima var. drimyfolia (Schltdl. & Cham.) Mez
  • Persea gratissima var. macrophylla Meisn.
  • Persea gratissima var. oblonga Meisn.
  • Persea gratissima var. praecox Nees
  • Persea gratissima var. vulgaris Meisn.
  • Persea leiogyna Blake
  • Persea nubigena L.O.Williams
  • Persea nubigena var. guatemalensis L.O.Williams
  • Persea paucitriplinervia Lundell
  • Persea persea (L.) Cockerell
  • Persea steyermarkii C.K.Allen [1]

The avocado (Persea americana) is a tree, long thought to have originated in South Central Mexico,[2][3] classified as a member of the flowering plant family Lauraceae.[4] The fruit of the plant, also called an avocado (or avocado pear or alligator pear), is botanically a large berry containing a single large seed known as a "pit" or a "stone".[5]

Avocados are commercially valuable and are cultivated in tropical and Mediterranean climates throughout the world.[4] They have a green-skinned, fleshy body that may be pear-shaped, egg-shaped, or spherical. Commercially, they ripen after harvesting. Avocado trees are partially self-pollinating and are often propagated through grafting to maintain a predictable quality and quantity of the fruit.


Native Oaxaca criollo avocados, the ancestral form of today's domesticated varieties

Persea americana, or the avocado, possibly originated in the Tehuacan Valley[6] in the state of Puebla, Mexico,[7] although fossil evidence suggests similar species were much more widespread millions of years ago. However, there is evidence for three possible separate domestications of the avocado, resulting in the currently recognized Mexican (aoacatl), Guatemalan (quilaoacatl), and West Indian (tlacacolaocatl) landraces.[8][9] The Mexican and Guatemalan landraces originated in the highlands of those countries, while the West Indian landrace is a lowland variety that ranges from Guatemala, Costa Rica, Colombia, Ecuador to Peru,[8] achieving a wide range through human agency before the arrival of the Europeans.[9] The three separate landraces were most likely to have already intermingled[a] in pre-Columbian America and were described in the Florentine Codex.[9]

The earliest residents were living in temporary camps in an ancient wetland eating avocados, chilies, mollusks, sharks, birds, and sea lions.[10] The oldest discovery of an avocado pit comes from Coxcatlan Cave, dating from around 9,000 to 10,000 years ago.[6][9] Other caves in the Tehuacan Valley from around the same time period also show early evidence for the presence of avocado.[6] There is evidence for avocado use at Norte Chico civilization sites in Peru by at least 3,200 years ago and at Caballo Muerto in Peru from around 3,800 to 4,500 years ago.[6]

The native, undomesticated variety is known as a criollo, and is small, with dark black skin, and contains a large seed.[11] It probably coevolved with extinct megafauna.[12] The avocado tree also has a long history of cultivation in Central and South America, likely beginning as early as 5,000 BC.[7] A water jar shaped like an avocado, dating to AD 900, was discovered in the pre-Incan city of Chan Chan.[13]

The earliest known written account of the avocado in Europe is that of Martín Fernández de Enciso (circa 1470–1528) in 1519 in his book, Suma De Geographia Que Trata De Todas Las Partidas Y Provincias Del Mundo.[14][15] The first detailed account that unequivocally describes the avocado was given by Gonzalo Fernández de Oviedo y Valdés in his work Sumario de la natural historia de las Indias [es] in 1526.[8] The first written record in English of the use of the word 'avocado' was by Hans Sloane, who coined the term in 1669,[8] in a 1696 index of Jamaican plants. The plant was introduced to Spain in 1601, Indonesia around 1750, Mauritius in 1780, Brazil in 1809, the United States mainland in 1825, South Africa and Australia in the late 19th century, and Israel in 1908.[9] In the United States, the avocado was introduced to Florida and Hawaii in 1833 and in California in 1856.[9]

Before 1915, the avocado was commonly referred to in California as ahuacate and in Florida as alligator pear. In 1915, the California Avocado Association introduced the then-innovative term avocado to refer to the plant.[9]

Other Languages
Afrikaans: Avokado
አማርኛ: አቡካዶ
العربية: أفوكادو
অসমীয়া: আভাকাডো
asturianu: Persea americana
azərbaycanca: Amerika avokadosu
Bân-lâm-gú: A-bú-khá-loh
Basa Banyumasan: Apokat
беларуская: Авакада
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Авакада
Bikol Central: Abukado
Bislama: Avoka
български: Авокадо
català: Alvocat
Cebuano: Abokado
Chamoru: Alagatapeha'
chiTumbuka: Mapeyala
Cymraeg: Afocado
dansk: Avocado
Deutsch: Avocado
Diné bizaad: Chʼil akʼahí
Ελληνικά: Αβοκάντο
Esperanto: Avokado
euskara: Ahuakateondo
فارسی: آووکادو
français: Avocatier
Gaeilge: Abhacád
galego: Aguacate
한국어: 아보카도
հայերեն: Ավոկադո
हिन्दी: रूचिरा
Bahasa Indonesia: Apokat
interlingua: Persea americana
íslenska: Lárpera
עברית: אבוקדו
Basa Jawa: Apokat
ಕನ್ನಡ: ಆವಕಾಡೊ
Kapampangan: Abukadu
ქართული: ავოკადო
қазақша: Авокадо
Kinyarwanda: Avoka
Kiswahili: Mparachichi
коми: Авокадо
Kreyòl ayisyen: Pye zaboka
kurdî: Avokado
Кыргызча: Авокадо
кырык мары: Авокадо
Ladino: Avokado
лакку: Авокадо
latviešu: Avokado
lingála: Sabúká
magyar: Avokádó
മലയാളം: വെണ്ണപ്പഴം
მარგალური: ავოკადო
Bahasa Melayu: Pokok Avokado
Baso Minangkabau: Alpukat
မြန်မာဘာသာ: ထောပတ်ပင်
Nāhuatl: Ahuacacuahuitl
Na Vosa Vakaviti: Pea
Nederlands: Avocado
日本語: アボカド
Nordfriisk: Avokaado
norsk: Avokado
norsk nynorsk: Avokado
پنجابی: ایووکیڈو
Перем Коми: Авокадо
português: Persea americana
reo tahiti: Âvōta
română: Avocado
Runa Simi: Palta
русский: Авокадо
Scots: Avocado
Seeltersk: Avocado
Sesotho sa Leboa: Abokato
shqip: Avokado
Simple English: Avocado
slovenščina: Avokadovec
Soomaaliga: Afakadho
српски / srpski: Авокадо
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Avokado
Basa Sunda: Alpuket
suomi: Avokado
svenska: Avokado
Tagalog: Abukado
татарча/tatarça: Авокадо
తెలుగు: అవకాడో
ትግርኛ: ኣቮካዶ
тоҷикӣ: Авокодо
lea faka-Tonga: ʻĀvoka
Türkçe: Avokado
удмурт: Авокадо
українська: Авокадо
ئۇيغۇرچە / Uyghurche: ئاۋكادۇر
Tiếng Việt: Bơ (thực vật)
Winaray: Abokado
ייִדיש: אוואקאדא
粵語: 牛油果
中文: 鳄梨