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Avocado Growers, Customers, Consumers Avocado History

What Are They?

Avocados are a fruit that grows on a tree and can be technically classified as a berry. They have a taste that ranges from rich, creamy and buttery to light and fruity, depending on the variety. There are many varieties of avocados, several of which are grown commercially. The Hass variety is the most popular commercially grown variety and has a deep, rich flavor. Avocados are ready to eat when they are slightly soft and yield to gentle pressure. The peel is peeled away and the flesh of the fruit is eaten. Avocados can be eaten by themselves or used for guacamole, sandwiches, salads, omelets, desserts and much more. See our recipe section for great Avocado ideas, or use your imagination.


The avocado is native to the area stretching from the eastern and central highland of Mexico through Guatemala to the Pacific coast of Central America. There is evidence indicating that avocados have been utilized in Mexico for a period of 10,000 years. The Spanish Conquistadors discovered the fruit, native to the Americas, which the indigenous people of Mexico, Central America and South America had been using for thousands of years. Martin Fernandez De Encisco wrote the first published account of this fruit in 1519 and announced its existence to Europe. Naturalist Sir Hans Sloan was the first to use the name avocado in a catalogue of Jamaican plants he published in 1696. During the 1700’s European sailors used the avocado as a spread for biscuits, which led to the name midshipman’s butter. Avocado trees were first introduced to California before 1856. A tree brought from Nicaragua was noticed growing near San Gabriel. In 1911 Carl Schmidt, a plant explorer, collected budwood of a seedling which eventually became the Fuerte. This variety became the basis of the California avocado industry for many years. Avocados were introduced to Florida before 1850 and in the 1930’s autumn and winter varieties were adapted. Commercial varieties of avocados were introduced to Chile from California in 1928, however avocados have been growing in the country since colonial times. The avocado was first introduced to, Indonesia by 1750, Brazil in 1809, Israel in 1908, South Africa and Australia in the late 19th century. In the late 1920’s Mr. Rudolph Hass, who purchased the tree from developer A. R. Rideout of Whittier, California, first discovered the Hass variety. The Hass variety is currently the most widely grown commercial and popular avocado variety.

The Many Names of the Avocado

The scientific name for avocado is Persea Americana.
The Aztecs first called the fruit aoacatl, which was later translated into ahuacatl.
The most common English name for this fruit is avocado, modified from the early Spanish name aguacate or ahuacate.
In Jamaica and at one time in Florida the common name was alligator pear
The common Dutch name for the fruit is advocaat or avocat.
The German common name is Abakate.
The common name in Portuguese is abacate.
A common name in some South American countries is palta, which is the name originally used by the Incas.
In the 1700’s it was called midshipman’s butter by European sailors.
Avocados are classified in the division Magnoliophyta, class Magnoliopsida, order Magnoliales, family Lauraceae.

The Avocado: Botany, Production and Uses

Avocado Varieties
Ripening Guide - pdf
Other Uses
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