The avocado (Persea americana), a tree likely originating from south-central Mexico, is classified as a member of the flowering plant family Lauraceae. The fruit of the plant, also called an avocado (or avocado pear or alligator pear), is botanically a large berry containing a single large seed. Avocado trees are partially self-pollinating, and are often propagated through grafting to maintain predictable fruit quality and quantity.
Avocados are cultivated in tropical and Mediterranean climates of many countries, with Mexico as the leading producer of avocados in 2019, supplying 32% of the world total.
Avocado is a large, spreading, evergreen tree with an irregular, dense crown, that can vary widely in height according to variety. Grafted trees generally tend to be 8 - 10 metres tall, but grown on their own roots they can be up to 20 metres tall. The bole can be around 45cm in diameter, it usually branches from low down.
The fruit is widely appreciated and found for sale in countries all around the world. The tree is also valued for the oil it yields and for its many medicinal applications. The tree is extensively cultivated in tropical and sub-tropical regions.
The avocado has long been used medicinally, with most parts of the plant being employed. There has been some research into the medicinal properties of the plant that support traditional uses.
Research has shown that there is anti-cancerous activity in extracts of the leaves and fresh shoots.
Leaf extracts have shown antihypertensive activity.
The leaf and seed contain cyanide. The oil from the seeds contains steroids that are used for pharmaceuticals.
The seed extract has an erythroagglutinating property. The fruit contains reductase and transferase enzymes