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Avocado, alligator pear  

Punica granata

Family: Lauraceae  | Place of Origin: The eastern and central highlands of Mexico and highland areas of Guatemala 

Origins and history:   


The oldest archeological record is from Coxcatlan, Mexico in about 10,000 BCE. Cultivation of the fruit is believed to have started in about 8,000 BCE.  


During the 16th century, early European travelers found cultivated avocados and spread them to Central and South America. In 1650, Spaniards introduced avocado to Jamaica, then, in the 1700s and 1800s it was distributed to the African and Asian tropics. Avocado was first introduced to the USA in 1833 in Florida. Now, commercial production of avocado ranks as 17th in the world. The largest producers are Mexico, the USA (mostly in California), Indonesia, Dominican Republic, Colombia, Chile, Peru, and Brazil.  

Traditional uses: 

Avocado fruit is a traditional staple in Guatemala and is considered a daily food. It is also of traditional importance in Mexico where it is used to make dishes like guacamole, salsa verde, an ingredient in cold soups, and topped on black beans, enchiladas, and tacos. The leaves have also been used traditionally as a spice for barbacoa in Mexico. It was also originally believed that Avocados were a fertility food due to their shape.

Identification characteristics

Uses and preparation

Food: Avocado is most commonly eaten by scooping out the pulp and eating it raw or as an ingredient in dishes. It is used as an ingredient in salads and fruit salads. In parts of Asia, it is commonly made into ice cream or a shake by adding sugar and chocolate.

Liquid: It has been known to be an ingredient in a liqueur called advocaat.  

Cosmetics/medicine: The extracted oil and the pulp can also be used for lotions, face creams, skin care products, cosmetics, and hair products. The oil can be used topically to relieve skin problems like eczema, dry scalp, and irritations and it is also used to increase collagen and for its anti-bacterial properties.