botanical name ( Persea americana ) The avocado is a dense, evergreen tree. It is fast growing and can with age reach 80 feet, although usually less, and generally branches to form a broad tree. Avocado leaves are alternate, glossy, elliptic and dark green with paler veins. They normally remain on the tree for 2 to 3 years. The leaves of West Indian varieties are scentless. The leaves are high in oils and slow to compost and may collect in mounds beneath trees. West Indian type avocados produce enormous, smooth round, glossy green fruits that are low in oil and weigh up to 2 pounds. The flesh of avocados is deep green near the skin, becoming yellowish nearer the single large, inedible ovoid seed. The flesh is hard when harvested but softens to a buttery texture. Wind-caused abrasion can scar the skin, forming cracks which extend into the flesh.
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