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E Introduced Photo: Ashutosh Sharma
Common name: Avocado
Botanical name: Persea americana    Family: Lauraceae (Laurel family)
Synonyms: Laurus persea, Persea persea, Persea edulis

Avocado is a fast-growing subtropical tree that can reach 80 ft in ideal conditions, but is generally 8-10 m tall. Tree is usually quite dense in foliage and often have a spreading growth form. Leaves are 7-41 cm in length and variable in shape (elliptic, oval, lanceshaped). They are often velvet-hairy and reddish when young, becoming smooth, leathery, and dark green when mature. Flowers are yellowish green, and 1-1.3 cm in diameter. The many- flowered inflorescences are borne at branch ends. The central axis of the inflorescence terminates in a shoot. The crushed leaves of Mexican varieties have an anise-like smell. The pear-shaped fruit is usually 7-20 cm long, weighs between 100 gm to 1 kg, and has a large central seed, 5-6.4 cm long. The avocado is common in vegetarian cuisine as a substitute for meats in sandwiches and salads because of its high fat content. The unripe fruit is poisonous. The ground up seed is mixed with cheese and used as a poisonous bait to kill rats and mice. Avocado is believed to be native to Central America.

Identification credit: Ashutosh Sharma Photographed in cultivation in Karnataka.

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