Persea americana – Avocado

Persea americana - Avocado, Alligator Pear (rough fruit)

Persea americana - Avocado, Alligator Pear (smooth fruit)

Persea americana - Avocado, Alligator Pear

Plant Name

Scientific Name: Persea americana

Common Names: Avocado, Alligator Pear

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial, Evergreen

Growth Habit: Tree

Hawaii Native Status: Introduced. This naturalized fruit tree is native to Mexico and Central America.

Flower Color: Yellow-green

Height: 30 to 65 feet (9 to 20 m) tall

Description: The small flowers are in clusters at the branch tips. The individual flowers have no petals and 6 hairy, yellow-green sepals in 2 whorls of 3. The flowers are followed by smooth to rough, yellow-green, green, reddish brown, purplish, or almost black, pear-shaped, egg-shaped, or round fruits with yellow to green flesh and a single large, brown seed. The leaves are glossy dark green above, pale glaucous green below, alternate, and variably elliptic in shape.

Here in Hawaii, Avocados are cultivated for their fruit and also grow wild in mesic (moderately wet) forests at low elevations.

Special Characteristics

Edible – The soft, buttery flesh of the ripe fruits is edible and quite delicious. This is the familiar Avocado of commerce.

Poisonous – The leaves, fruit skin, seeds, and bark are poisonous.


Kingdom: Plantae – Plants
Subkingdom: Tracheobionta – Vascular plants
Superdivision: Spermatophyta – Seed plants
Division: Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants
Class: Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons
Subclass: Magnoliidae
Order: Laurales
Family: Lauraceae – Laurel family
Genus: Persea Mill. – bay
Species: Persea americana Mill. – avocado

More About This Plant

Hawaii County Distribution Map