The flowering plant native to Mexico and Guam, 20 meters high and the egg shaped pit – as the plant’s fruit are called Avocado. The inconspicuous greenish-yellow flowers measure 5-10 cm and the fruit 7-20 cm. It is also called avocado pear or alligator pear and it weights varies between 100 grams and 1 kilo. The seed is bigger than the other fruits’ belonging to the same plant family, Lauriceae (5-6.4 cm long). It displays a yellow to green flesh when ripe, but oxides contained may change the color into brown very soon after meeting the air molecules. The plant doesn’t bear low temperatures and winds (it needs abundant hydration) although the rough green skin could successfully protect the flesh from external factors.
The name of the fruit is not at all random because it comes from the Aztec word “aguacate”, which means “testicle” due to the similarities between the shape of the fruit and the one of the sexual male organ. In the Aztec culture avocado was known as the “fertility fruit” as it had the effect of a sexual stimulant, therefore it was prohibited to persons that wanted chastity. Aztecs had a real cult for this testicle shaped fruit as the historical evidences reveal: a jar shaped similar to an avocado pear was found in the pre-Incan city of Chan-Chan.
Avocado is very popular in the Mexican cuisine but also in the vegetarian one. The Mexican avocado-dip “guacamole” is known all over the world for its particular flavor. It can successfully substitute meat in all sorts of dishes due to its large amount of monosaturated fat (more than any other fruit) and it creamy, smooth texture.
Although it’s great source of vitamins C, B and potassium and has a large variety of health benefits, it is known that some animals (such as: dogs, cats, goats, cattle, fish birds and horses) can be seriously harmed or even killed when consuming any of the avocado’s parts.
Today avocado is commercialized and planted in more than 50 countries, after winning the war of refusals of other countries to plant it. The danger of avocado pests still exists, but USDA has found solutions to control it. In 2006 Mexico exported more then 100 000 tones.