Avocado, or Alligator Pear, the name of a tropical fruit, as well as of the tree bearing it. Avocados are called alligator pears probably because they are often found growing near the habitat of alligators. The avocado, which is native to tropical America, is known to have been cultivated in the New World before the time of Columbus. The tree can grow up to 60 feet (18 m) in height and has dark green leaves from four to eight inches (10 to 20 cm) in length. The tree is propagated by seeds or grafting.

The fruit varies in color, size, and shape, depending on the variety of tree from which it is obtained. There are more than 500 varieties of avocado trees. The fruit can be pear-shaped, round, or oval, and is brown, green, purple, red, or maroon in color. The fruit varies in weight from one ounce to four pounds (28 g to 1.8 kg). The skin can be either soft and pliable or woody, and ranges up to one-eighth of an inch (3 mm) in thickness. The pulp is soft and oily. A single large seed is embedded in the fruit.

AvocadosAvocados are tropical fruits with fleshy, yellow-green pulp and bumpy skin.

In the United States, avocados are used principally in salads and desserts. In Central America, the fruit is a basic part of the diet. Avocados have a high nutritive value, containing up to 30 per cent fat, in addition to carbohydrates, minerals, vitamins, and more protein than any other fruit. Avocados are extensively cultivated in California and Florida.

The avocado is Persea americana of the laurel family, Lauraceae. Its scientific name is Persea americana.