The cultivated avocado (Persea americana) has its origins in what is known today as Puebla, Mexico, where this creamy fruit’s existence can be traced back over 10,000 years, growing wild in nature. 

It is believed that it became a crop domesticated by the locals over 5,000 years ago but it was only in the 16th century, when Spanish conquistadors learned about the fruit from the Aztecs, that the crop became known in other parts of the world, travelling to Europe during this same century.

Used by Aztecs as a delicacy and an aphrodisiac, the fruit gots its name from the Nahuatl word ahuacatl, which means “testicle.” To the Aztec, avocados, which grow in pairs, were symbols of love and fertility.

A 1696 catalogue of Jamaican plants mentioned the avocado, referring to it as an alligator pear tree. Henry Perrine, a horticulturist, planted avocados in Florida in 1833. But they did not become a cash crop until much later.

In the early 1900s, California farmers started growing alligator pears commercially. But even though the common English name matched the pebbly green skin of this unusually unsweet fruit, the newly formed growers association did not believe they could successfully market it as such. They turned back to the native moniker, ahuacatl, which had become aguacate to Spanish speakers and avocado in the English language.



The avocado fruit is a single-seeded berry with the imperceptible endocarp covering the seed, rather than a drupe. 

The pear-shaped fruit is usually 7–20 cm (3–8 in) long, weighs between 100 and 1,000 g (3+1⁄2 and 35+1⁄2 oz), and has a large central seed, 5–6.4 cm (2–2+1⁄2 in) long.

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