Persea americana Mill. var. americana

  • Authority

    Kopp, Lucille E. 1966. A tasonomic revision of the genus Persea in the Western Hemisphere (Perseae-Lauraceae). Mem. New York Bot. Gard. 14: 1-117.

  • Family


  • Scientific Name

    Persea americana Mill. var. americana

  • Description

    Species Description - Trees to 40 m.; branchlets slender, moderately pubescent with tawny to subferrugineous, subcrisped hairs, not aromatic; petioles 1-6 cm. long, slender, canaliculate, sparsely to moderately pubescent with tawny, subcrisped hairs; leaf-blades 6-30 cm. long, 3.5-19 cm. wide, chartaceous to subchartaceous, narrowly to broadly elliptic to subrotund, sometimes subovate or subobovate, the tips mostly acuminate, occasionally acute, the bases acute to obtuse to rounded, the upper surface glabrescent, the lower surface glaucous, occasionally pruinose, sparsely to moderately tawny-pubescent with erect, subcrisped hairs, the costa slightly impressed or plane above, the 6-9 pairs of primary nerves divergent at 40-50°, plane above, prominent beneath, the reticulation obscure. Inflorescences subterminal, multiple, compact or loose, shorter than their subtending leaves; peduncle 1-7 an. long, tawny-tomentellous; pedicels 2-5 mm. long, slender, tawny-tomentellous; flowers 5-8.2 mm. long; outer perianth-segments 4-6 mm. long, 1.2-3 mm. wide, elliptic to obovate-elliptic. tawny-tomentellous on both surfaces, tlie tips acute; inner perianth-segments 4.5-6 (-8) mm. long, 1.3-3 mm. wide, equal to or slightly longer than the outer segments, tawny-tomentellous on both surfaces, tlie tips acute; stamens about 3.5 mm. long, the filaments about 2.3 mm. long, the andien about 1.2 mm. long, the filaments of series I and II pubescent, slender, the anthers quadrilocular; filaments of series III slender, pubescent, die glands stalked, subbasally attadied to the filaments, the andiers quadrilocular, the upper locules laterally dehiscent, the lower extrorse; staminodia of series IV broadly sagittate; gynoecium pubescent in varving amounts, the ovary subglobose, ovoid, or pyriform; stvle 1.5-3 mm. long; stigma triangular, slightly peltate. Infructescence bearing few fruits; periandi-segments caducous; fruits 5-15 cm. long, broadly or narrowly piriform, green.

    Distribution and Ecology - Distribution. Widely cultivated in die tropics and subtropics of die Old and New Worlds.

  • Discussion

    Laurus persea Linn. Sp. PI. 370. 1753.

    Persea edulis Rafin. Sylva Tell. 134. 1838.

    Persea gratissima Gaertn. Frucht. & Seni. 3: 22. 1805.

    Persea gratissima (3 praecox C. G. Nees, Syst. Laurin. 129. 1836.

    Persea gratissima var. y macrophylla Meissn. in DC. Prodr. 15(1): 53. 1864.

    Persea gratissima var. a vulgaris Meissn. in DC. Prodr. 15(1): 53. 1864.

    Persea persea (L.) Cockerell, Bull. Torrey Club. 19: 95. 1892.

    Persea leiogyna Blake, Jour. Wash. Acad. Sci. 10: 19. 1920.

    Persea americana var. angustifolia Miranda, Anal. Inst. Biol. Mexico 17: 129. 1946.

    Vernacular names. Abacate, aguacate, aguacate de mico, aguacate veranero, aguacatillo, alligator pear, avocatier, bueire vegetal, avoca, avocado, avocatier, bois patat, butter pear, cura aguacate, el clioro, huira palta, on aguacate, palto, pear, violette.

    Lectotype. Desaiption in Clus. Hist. 1: 2. 1601.

    Many variants recognized here as synonyms of P. americana var. americana were previously given specific status. Several of them require some discussion. Blake described P leiogyna from the 'Trapp avocado," a clone originating in Cuba, and a well-known "variety" among the avocado growers. It is characterized by the sparsely pubescent perianth, and glabrous ovary and staminodes. There are no distinguishing vegetative characters. By careful inspection it is possible to find a few small hairs on the ovary, indicating an incomplete supression of the pubescent condition. It is a form which has been perpetuated by cultivation, and though sparsely pubescent, still in the range of variation of var. americana.

    As the name implies, the leaves of P. americana var. angustifolia are narrow. It, too, appears to be a horticultural variant.

    Meissner recognized four varieties within the species he referred to as P. gratissima and cited specimens under each. Every collection cited by Meissner as var. Y macrophylla is also found listed under var. a vulgaris, which synonymizes the former.

    The whole P. americana complex needs much genetic and field study before many of the problems can be solved. Its origin is in the Honduras-Guatemalasouthern Mexico area as indicated by the natural occurrence of the greatest number of species and individuals of this subgenus.

    Because in his original description of P. americana Miller refers to the Clusius' publication in which a clear description of the avocado is given (Clus. Hist. 1: 2. 1601), the latter has been selected as lectotype.

    Historically important specimens have been cited. T h e remaining are listed only in the exsiccatae.