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or alligator pear (Persea), a genus of evergreen fruit-bearing plants of the laurel family. Avocado trees grow to 10–20 m high and have monoecious, almost white blossoms that form paniculate racemes. Their fruits are large dark green or almost black monospermous drupes (length 5–20 cm, weight 250–600 g) that come in several shapes. There are about ten species of avocado (more than 20 according to some sources). The Persea armeniaca is widely cultivated.
The avocado grows best on fertile, well-drained, neutral or slightly acidic soil; avocado plantings must be protected from winds. The industrial cultivation of avocados is developed in many tropical and subtropical regions of the world, most widely in the USA (California, Florida, and Hawaii) and Brazil. In the USSR there are experimental avocado plantings on the Black Sea coast of the Georgian SSR (Meksikola and Chernaia ptitsa strains).
The avocado yields a harvest of 150–200 kg of fruit per tree. Its fruit contains up to 30 percent fat and 1.6–2.1 percent protein; vitamins B1, B2, C, and D, and others; and almost no carbohydrates. The avocado, which is similar in taste to the walnut, is eaten raw, in salads, and in sandwiches. Its cultivation is similar to that of citrus fruit.
REFERENCEGutiev,G. T. Subtropicheskie plodovye rasteniia. Moscow, 1958.
A. I. KOLESNIKOV