Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Persea americana Mill.

Shrub (woody or herbaceous, 1-6 m tall)
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Leaves and Flowers. © CSIRO
Flowers. © CSIRO
Scale bar 10mm. © CSIRO
10th leaf stage. © CSIRO
1st leaf stage. © CSIRO

Miller, P. (1768) Gardener's Dictionary Ed. 8 : 441. Type: Tropical America?.

Common name

Alligator Pear; Avocado; Avocado Pear; Avocado Tree


Dead bark layered.


Oil dots visible with a lens. Leaf blades about 10-30 x 4-10 cm. Midrib depressed on the upper surface, petioles channelled on the upper surface. Terminal buds densely clothed in pale silky hairs.


Tepals about 4-6 mm long, hairy. Staminal filaments hairy. Glands six, staminodes three, glands and staminodes orange. Ovary about 2-2.5 mm long, hairy.


Fruits quite large, +/- ovoid or pyriform, usually more than 10 cm long and more than 7 cm diam. Seed globular, about 3-4 cm diam.


First pair of leaves ovate or elliptical, about 45-75 x 18-30 mm, green or slightly glaucous on the underside. At the tenth leaf stage: leaves ovate or elliptic, upper surface with a few pale hairs at least along the midrib; oil dots very small, visible only with a lens; petiole and stem with a few pale prostrate hairs; terminal bud densely hairy. Seed germination time 29 days.

Distribution and Ecology

An introduced species originally from Mexico and Central America, widely cultivated in Australia, becoming naturalised in NEQ on parts of the Atherton Tableland. Altitudinal range from 700-1000 m. Grows in rain forest regrowth.

Natural History & Notes

This is the Avocado or Avocado Pear of commerce. This species is occasionally found in the wild on the Atherton Tableland. At first sight it is difficult to envisage any local dispersal agencies. However, dogs (and dingoes) on the Atherton Tableland have developed a taste for the fruit and in some cases they will carry away and bury the seed after consuming the flesh. These buried seeds have been observed to germinate and grow in domestic situations.

The leaves of this species are poisonous Austin, D. F. 1998. Poisonous Plants of Southern Florida. ( pl.html)

This species has a number of uses. The pericarp is regarded as a tasty delicacy and is a rich source of oil. However, the seeds and leaves are poisonous. ( /herbage/A19613.htm)

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