Description: Trees, to 15 m high. Leaf buds perulate with imbricate scales. Leaves simple, alternate, 8-18×4-6 cm, elliptic, elliptic-ovate or elliptic-oblong, base attenuate, apex obtuse; lateral nerves 5-8 pairs, pinnate; estipulate; petiole to 2 cm. Flowers bisexual, subsessile, greenish, in compact terminal panicles on branchlets. Perianth tomentose, tube turbinate, lobes 3+3. Stamens 9, perfect, those of the fi rst and second row opposite the perianth lobes, introrse, those of third row opposite the fi rst row; staminodes of fourth row opposite the second row, cordate, stipitate. Ovary superior, sessile, hairy; style slender; stigma simple. Fruit a berry, 10×8 cm, with copious mesocarp; seed 4 cm dia.
Avocado's Behavior & Ecology
Occurrence in Maldives: Cultivated in homesteads.
Native range: Mexico and Central America.
Flowering & fruiting: March- September.
Avocado's Relationship with Humans
Uses: Widely cultivated for its nutritious fruit. The fruit pulp is used to treat wounds with pus. Decoction from seeds is used as mouthwash and to relieve toothache and decoction from pulp, bark and leaves is used to promote menstruation.
This species is found in habitats from sea level to up to 3,000 m asl. It grows in high rainfall areas with an intense summer and dry winter and spring. The West Indian race prefers tropical habitats of low altitude in the west coasts of Cental America. The Guatemalan race grows in tropical highlands while the Mexican race can be found in both tropical highland and cool subtropical habitats on mountain slopes in evergreen forest, cloud forest and pine-oak forests. The recently proposed Costarricencis race is distributed in the mountains of Costa Rica at 1,200 to 2,000 m asl (Barrientos-Priego et al. 1992, Leon 2000, Ben-Ya'acov et al. 2003, Schaffer et al. 2013).
Habitat destruction is threatening the diversity of the Lauraceae family, including Persea species. Change of land use for agriculture and livestock, grazing, urbanization, logging and wildfires are some factors threatening Persea genetic diversity (Barrientos-Priego et al. 1992, Ben-Ya'acov et al. 1992a,b). This species is targeted for logging.