Avocado: All you Definitely Need to Know about this Fruit

Is avocado a fruit? The answer is yes; it is a fruit. You are probably confused because all your life you thought that it was a vegetable, but this is false. In fact, avocado is classified as a fruit in several sources such as the book “Botany of Tropical Crops” written by Jorge León. The main reason why it is classified as a fruit and not as a vegetable is that it grows on trees.

In this blog, you’ll learn all about the avocado, its botanical characteristics, varieties, benefits, history, industry, cultivation and avocado-based by-products. So, read on, because here is all the information you need.

What is avocado and what are its characteristics? 

Scientific namePersea americana
Common nameAvocado, aguacate, palta, aguacata, aguaco, among others.
Place of originIt is native to America
DistributionIt grows in Asia, America, Oceania, Europe and Africa.

The avocado is the fruit of the Persea americana plant belonging to the Lauraceae family, as well as cinnamon and camphor. This family is characterized by a high content of oils in almost all parts of the plant.

In this section you’ll learn the botanical characteristics of the avocado plant.

Characteristics of avocado 

Type of avocado plant, stem and roots 

This fruit grows on trees that can reach up to 20 meters in height and in some cases they have even reached more than 1 meter in diameter.

The stem is woody and has a smooth bark, although in some cases it can crack. This tree has shallow roots of about 1.5 meters.

Avocado branches, leaves and flowers 

The branches of the avocado tree are thin and can be easily broken by the wind or by carrying a lot of fruit.

The leaves are red and hairy when immature, and then become green and smooth as they mature.

The avocado tree flowers are small with about 1 cm in diameter. Each one is grouped together to form the characteristic flower clusters of this species. The flowers are yellow and green and have an incredible aroma.

The avocado fruit 

Avocado varieties have one characteristic in common: the seed, which is located in the center of the pulp and varies in size depending on the variety, but it always has brown and black tones.

The avocado skin can be rough or smooth, and the color is varied, although the most predominant color is green.

Their size and shape also vary greatly, for example, they can be round, oval, pear-shaped, among others.

The flesh has a smooth and creamy texture, is yellow and green in color, and the flavor is not intense and is even known to be similar to walnut.

What types of avocado are there? 

When talking about avocado, we classify it into breeds and varieties, I know it sounds complicated, but you’ll see it’s not. Below, you can learn more about avocado variability.

Avocado breeds

Botanists have classified the avocado into the following 3 races according to the origin and characteristics of both the tree and the fruit.

1. Mexican breed (Persea americana var. Drymifolia) 

As its name indicates, this breed is found in central and southern Mexico. The main characteristic of these trees is the anise-like odor of their leaves. The fruits are small, weighing approximately 120 to 450 g.

This plant is cultivated in cold climates and in high areas, in fact, it resists much better to frosts or low temperatures and droughts compared to the other breeds.

2. Guatemalan breed (Persea americana var. Guatemalensis) 

These populations of trees are found mainly from Guatemala to Costa Rica. They are grown at high or medium altitudes and are resistant to cold.

The sizes of these fruits range from small to large as their weight can oscillate from 150 to 2000 g. Compared to the Mexican breed, this breed doesn’t have an aniseed odor.

3. Antillean breed (Persea americana var. Americana)

The origin of this breed is not clearly established, it is said that it originated in the south of Mexico, in Central America or in Colombia.

Like the Guatemalan breed, the fruits of the Antillean breed can be small to large, and its seed is large. One special feature is that it is resistant to soil salinity, compared to the other breeds that can be more sensitive to it, which means that there are no negative effects on its growth.

Avocado varieties 

Each variety of avocado belongs to one of the races I mentioned before. There are more than 500 types of avocado, so here we’ll show you a few of these varieties or cultivars of avocado, to which race they belong and their main characteristics.

Common or Creole avocado 

The common or criollo avocado belongs to the Antillean breed. The trees have a late production and are quite tall, making harvesting quite difficult. The skin of this variety is thin, smooth and green with brown or black spots. It has a large seed and yellow and green flesh.

Hass avocado 

The Hass avocado belongs to the Guatemalan breed. This variety is appreciated for its excellent production, which begins when the tree is three years old. For example, in Colombia, Hass avocado occupies 26% of the total area planted; in addition, its yield has increased over the years, in 2020 it recorded a yield of 10 tons per hectare planted.

This avocado has a thick rind and rough texture. It is green in its immaturity and then turns dark shades of brown and black when ripe. Its seed is round and small. In addition, this avocado can weigh between 150 to 400 grams.

Lorena Avocado 

The Lorena avocado belongs to the Antillan breed. The tree has a large number of branches and is well adapted to warm climates.

This avocado has a thin, smooth and shiny peel of a uniform green color, and the flesh is light yellow. The Lorena avocado can be medium to large weighing around 430 to 450 g (1 to 2,000 to 1,000 lb).

Fuerte Avocado 

The Fuerte avocado belongs to the Mexican breed. This variety’s fruit is small, weighing approximately 250 to 450 grams. The peel is thin, dull green and peels off easily when ripe. The flesh is light yellow in color, and the seed is medium sized and usually adheres to the flesh.

This variety is appreciated because it can be kept on the tree for at least 3 months after maturity and is also resistant to dents during transport.

Lula avocado 

The Lula avocado belongs to the Guatemalan breed. The tree of this variety is fast growing, tall and resistant to frost.

The fruit of the Lula avocado is medium to large and weighs about 400 to 680g. The rind of this variety is smooth and green, and the seed is large and adheres well to the flesh, which is green and yellow in light shades.

Other types of avocados 

As you now know, there is a great variety of avocados in the world, so here are some of the most commercialized avocados:

  • Booth 7
  • Booth 8
  • Choquette
  • Collinred
  • Collinson
  • Monroe
  • Ruehle
  • Trapica
  • Santana
  • Trinidad
  • Waldin, among others

What are the benefits of avocado? 

Avocado nutritional information 

Avocado is a fruit with high properties; in the following table from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA, 2019), you can observe all the nutritional information of 100 g of avocado.

Nutritional information of avocado 
Serving: 100 grams of avocado 
Water73,2 grams
Energy160 calories
Protein2 grams
Total lipids (fats)14,7 grams
Carbohydrates8,53 grams
Fiber6,7 grams
Sugars0,66 grams
Sacarose0,06 grams
Glucose0,37 grams
Fructose0,12 grams
Lactose0 grams
Maltose0 grams
Galactose0,1 grams
Calcium12 miligrams
Iron0,55 grams
Magnesium29 milligrams
Phosphorus52 milligrams
Potassium485 miligrams
Sodium7 miligrams
Zinc0,64 miligrams
Copper0,19 miligrams
Selenium0,4 micrograms
Vitamin C10 miligrams
Tiamine0,067 miligrams
Riboflavin0,13 milligrams
Niacine0,74 milligrams
Pantothenic acid0,39 milligrams
Vitamin B60,257 milligrams
Folate81 micrograms
Folic acid0 micrograms
Coline14,2 milligrams
Vitamin A7 micrograms
Carotene, beta62 micrograms
Carotene, alfa24 micrograms
Lutein + Zeaxanthin271 micrograms
Vitamin E (alfa-tocoferol)2,07 micrograms
Vitamin K (Phylloquinone)0 micrograms
Total saturated fatty acids2,13 grams
Total monounsaturated fatty acids9,8 grams
Total polyunsaturated fatty acids1,82 grams
Tryptophan0,025 grams
Threonine0,073 grams
Isoleucine0,084 grams
Leucine0,143 grams
Lysine0,132 grams
Methionine0,038 grams
Cystine0,027 grams
Phenylalanine0,097 grams
Tyrosine0,049 grams
Valina0,107 grams
Arginine0,088 grams
Histidine0,049 grams
Alanine0,109 grams
Glutamic acid0,236 grams
Aspartic acid0,287 grams
Glycine0,104 grams
Proline0,098 grams
Serine0,114 grams

Properties of avocado on health 

Avocado is a source of antioxidants

Avocado contains vitamin E and C, two important nutrients that have antioxidant powers in the body.

What does this mean? Our body generates free radicals, which are unstable molecules that accumulate in cells, causing damage that can have negative effects on the body such as the onset of chronic diseases. Vitamin E and C are characterized by protecting the body from the ravages caused by free radicals.

Avocado is a source of potassium 

Avocado is one of the foods that provide more potassium to the body, as well as bananas. This mineral plays valuable roles in the body, in fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends consuming foods that are rich in this vitamin as it can help reduce blood pressure and the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Avocado is a source of magnesium 

Likewise, avocados contain magnesium, which has multiple functions that help keep the body healthy, for example, it is responsible for regulating the nervous system, participates in the production of energy and proteins, and stabilizes the levels of sugar in the blood, among many other functions.

Avocado is an ally for eyesight health 

Avocado contains two components called lutein and zeaxanthin, substances that are absorbed by the eyes. Consuming foods that are rich in these substances is important to avoid age-related vision problems or cataracts (North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, n.d.).

Other benefits of avocado 

Avocado has other benefits in the body, for example:

  • It promotes skin health.
  • It has anti-inflammatory effects.
  • It helps to reduce cholesterol levels in the blood.
  • It influences stomach health because it contains fiber.
  • It promotes wound healing and cicatrization.

Where did the avocado originate? 

The linguistic origin of the word “avocado” is quite interesting. The fact that the avocado was named in different ways by numerous communities shows that it was a tree and a fruit with a lot of importance at the time. The word avocado originated from the Aztec word ahuacaquahuitl which curiously means “testicle”. Another common name is “palta”, which was given by the Incas, who named it this way because it was brought from a place called Palta.

The avocado originated in the American continent. According to the archaeological evidence found, it is deduced that when the climatic conditions changed, the avocado migrated from North America to South America and began to establish itself in high quantities in the regions of Mesoamerica.

The avocado has been consumed by humans since prehistoric times. It is said that the climate of the period from 16,000 to 8,000 BC was suitable to start cultivating and domesticating this crop, which is how it began to be used by different communities in this continent. For example, there is archaeological evidence that the avocado was part of the diet of groups inhabiting the Moche Valley in Peru from 2,500 to 1,800 BC and on the Peruvian coast in 1,500 BC.

It is believed that the avocado was brought from Mexico to countries in South America such as Ecuador and Peru in pre-Columbian times. Then, when the Spaniards arrived in the new world, they kept written records of the fauna and flora they observed, as it was too curious and attractive for the colonizers.

I tell you this because the first record of the avocado is in the book “La Suma de Geografía” written by Martín Fernández de Enciso and published in Spain in 1519. He found the avocado in present-day Colombia and described it as a food that turned yellow on the inside when it was ready to eat and was like butter with an excellent flavor.

The Spanish liked the avocado so much that they introduced it to other colonies in the Americas, the Eastern Hemisphere and Europe. In addition, the avocado was also introduced in the Philippines in 1890, in Indonesia in 1750, in Brazil in 1809, in Israel in 1908, in 1856 in California (United States), and in general it was introduced in America, Europe, Asia, Oceania and Africa.

Ways in which avocado is consumed around the world 

Avocado is consumed in different ways around the world, whether in sweet or savory preparations. Here are some examples:

  • In the Philippines, it is consumed in avocado ice cream with other ingredients such as lemon, chocolate, sweeteners, mango, among others.
  • In Colombia, it is consumed as an accompaniment to soups or other preparations with salt.
  • In Ethiopia, there is a drink called “spris”, a sweet drink made by mixing mango, papaya and avocado puree.
  • In Brazil, they prepare an avocado cream with milk and pepper or the fruit is also consumed stuffed with ceviche.

By-products made from avocados

Handmade avocado products 

The seed or pit of the avocado is often used for the extraction of a molecule, which is then subjected to a chemical process to make biodegradable plastic. This is one of the most unique products made from avocado, although it is also used as a natural dye for clothing. The pits are left to dry and then put in a boiling container together with the clothes, so that the clothes will have a pinkish tone.

Other handicraft products are ice cream, jewelry and of course all the gastronomy based on avocado around the world.

Industrial avocado products 

The avocado is a fruit with a wide range of possibilities to make industrial products. Some products that companies are commercializing are:

  • Green chocolate
  • Cocktails
  • Milkshakes
  • Juices
  • Frozen avocado
  • Mayonnaise
  • Beers
  • Avocado oil
  • Avocado powder
  • Avocado hummus

Avocado cosmetic products 

Avocado oil is a favorite in cosmetics, extracted from the pulp of the fruit, because it provides hydration. Thus, it has been included in cosmetics, especially for skin and hair care. Some of the products that have avocado oil are:

  • Shampoos
  • Conditioners
  • Hair treatments
  • Body creams
  • Facial masks
  • Cosmetic avocado oil
  • Avocado scrubs
  • Facial moisturizer
  • Liquid soap

Avocado industry in the world 

The avocado is currently cultivated all over the world, and has played an important role in the diet of many people since ancient times. Here you’ll learn about the avocado industry in terms of production, exports and imports.

Top 5 avocado producing countries 

Over 8 million tons of avocado are produced worldwide, and here are the 5 countries that produced the most avocado in 2020 according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

PositionCountriesAvocado production in tons
Dominican Republic676.373

1. Mexico

Mexico is the representative of avocado since its origin, with a current harvest area of 224,422 hectares.

The state of Michoacán is the main avocado producer in this country, contributing around 80 to 85% of the national production. In fact, it is the only state with phytosanitary certification to export to the United States, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA, 2021). The state of Michoacán, together with other regions that are also leaders in production, such as Morelos, Estado de México, Nayarit and Jalisco, contribute 95% of national production.

2. Colombia 

Colombia has a harvest area of 78,578 hectares, 86 % of which is concentrated in the departments of Tolima, Caldas, Cesar, Bolivar, Santander, Quindio, Antioquia and Valle del Cauca. Tolima accounts for a large percentage of national production, with 18%.

Colombia produces large quantities of the Hass avocado variety, and one of the most important reasons for this is its geographical position.

3. Dominican Republic 

The Dominican Republic possesses factors, such as altitude, that enable it to produce avocados throughout the year; among the most cultivated varieties are the Criollo or common avocado and the Hass avocado. In addition, this country has a harvest area of 43,129 hectares, distributed as follows:

  • Northern Region: 32 %.
  • Southwest: 28 %.
  • Central region: 26 %.
  • Southern region: 14 %.

4. Peru 

Peru concentrates its production in small producer families that generate their income from avocados. The country has a harvested area of 50,605 hectares.

Among the most productive regions are Ica, Lima, La Libertas and Lambayeque, in fact, the variety that stands out most in these places is the Hass avocado.

5. Indonesia 

Although there is not much relevant information about the regions or provinces that produce the most avocado, it can be said that Indonesia has a total cultivation area of 46,383 hectares.

Curious fact:

Something curious about Indonesians is their habit of consuming avocado in a unique way, street vendors sell something called “jus alpukat” which means avocado juice, but it is more of an avocado milkshake with chocolate syrup and they even add coffee to it.

Top 5 avocado exporting countries 

For you to know more about the export of this food, we leave you with the 5 countries that exported the most avocado in 2020, according to FAO.

PositionCountriesAvocado exports in tons
The Netherlands375.685

1. Mexico 

Mexico, besides being the largest avocado producer in the world, is also the largest exporter. In 2020, it exported a total of $2’746,170 dollars. The largest market for Mexico is the United States which accounts for approximately 76.9% of its exports, mainly due to its geographic proximity. However, they have other markets such as:

  • Japan
  • Canada
  • The Netherlands
  • Spain
  • The Netherlands
  • France
  • Honduras
  • China
  • El Salvador
  • United Kingdom, among others.

2. Peru 

Like Mexico, Peru is one of the 5 largest producers worldwide and also one of the largest exporters. Peru exported $759,054 dollars, in fact, avocado is the 2nd of the 10 most exported products by Peruvians.  Some of its main destinations are:

  • United States
  • The Netherlands
  • Spain
  • United Kingdom
  • Chile

3. The Netherlands 

The Netherlands exported $1’183.043 dollars. Although it is the third largest exporter of avocado in the world, this food is in the 87th position of the products exported in this country. The main destinations of the Netherlands are:

  • Germany
  • France
  • Norway
  • Denmark
  • Sweden
  • Belgium

4. Spain 

Spain has stood out for increasing its exports, between 2016 and 2020 the value of its exports grew by 4.1 % and in 2020, it reached $453,550 dollars. Although it is among the 5 largest exporters of avocado, this product is in the 113th place of the most exported products from Spain. Some of its main destinations are:

  • France
  • The Netherlands
  • Germany
  • United Kingdom
  • Italy

5. Chile 

Finally, Chile was ranked as the 2nd most exporting country in the world, but was displaced by the countries mentioned above. In 2020, it exported $250,749 in dollars. In addition, avocado is ranked 35th of the most exported products in Chile. Some of its main destinations are:

  • Netherlands
  • United Kingdom
  • Argentina
  • Spain
  • China
  • Australia
  • Poland

Top 10 countries importing avocados 

The avocado is imported in various parts of the world and in each country it is used for different purposes due to cultural differences. This is why we want to show you a table with the top 10 countries that imported avocados in 2020, according to FAO.

PositionCountriesAvocado exports in tons
United States1’116.896
United Kingdom122.298

How is avocado cultivated? 

As avocado is grown in different regions of the world, in this section you’ll learn about some of the main factors that must be taken into account for the cultivation of this fruit.


The avocado climate varies according to the variety of avocado, but it is safe to say that the optimum climate must be between 20 to 28 °C, since temperatures below 15 °C can affect the tree and the fruit.

Light is also important, but it should be somewhere in between because if there is too much shade the branches do not produce and when the sunlight is too intense, the bark of the tree gets damaged.


The soil for avocado cultivation must be well-drained and especially sandy loam types are preferred for good tree production. The soil should also be rich in organic matter, as this helps the avocado to nourish and grow healthier.

Avocado reproduction

Avocado can be propagated using seeds; however, this method is not the most used in its fertilization since it can create genetic alterations in the tree in terms of size, production yield and even fruits that do not grow homogeneously.

For this reason, graft propagation is preferred for the commercialization of avocado. For this, a healthy branch is cut from a tree that has a high production and excellent quality fruit, this is planted and thus the desired harvest is guaranteed.

Avocado harvesting 

Usually, avocados fall from the tree when they are ripe, so they have to be harvested before this happens for the avocado to continue its ripening process with the care given by the farmer.

Harvesting must be done carefully because they are delicate fruits. The method varies according to the place, for example, in Colombia they are harvested by hand and in the United States or Israel they are harvested using machines.

Post-harvest and conservation of avocados 

The marketing company first washes, disinfects and dries the avocados, which are then sorted according to the criteria established for marketing. Generally, a machine sorts them according to size and weight so that they can then be packed.

For preservation, they must be stored in refrigeration chambers, but each variety has certain specific conditions that the company must keep in mind.


The avocado is an important fruit that generates direct and indirect jobs around the world, and it has an incredible history that has made it reach all 5 continents. In addition, it is preferred by many consumers for its great taste, texture, versatility and obviously for the benefits it provides to the body. Now, do you dare to consume it more?