The avocado (Persea americana) is a tree, long thought to have originated in South Central Mexico, classified as a member of the flowering plant family Lauraceae. Recent archaeological research produced evidence that the avocado was present in Peru as long as 8,000 to 15,000 years ago. Avocado (also alligator pear) refers to the tree's fruit, which is botanically a large berry containing a single large seed.
Avocados are commercially valuable and are cultivated in tropical and Mediterranean climates throughout the world. They have a green-skinned, fleshy body that may be pear-shaped, egg-shaped, or spherical. Commercially, they ripen after harvesting. Avocado trees are partially self-pollinating and are often propagated through grafting to maintain a predictable quality and quantity of the fruit.