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The Alligator Pear

    Naturevolume 105page408 (1920) | Download Citation



    THE cultivation of the Avocado or alligator pear is the subject of articles by Mr. W. G. Freeman and others in the Bulletin of the Department of Agriculture, Trinidad and Tobago (vol. xviii., part 3). The Avocado (Persea gratissima), a member of the family Lauraceæ, is a pear-shaped fruit with a large central stone, the amount of covering flesh varying considerably according as the kind is good or poor. It is one of the most important of the fruits which have become widely distributed since the discovery of the New World. It is probably a native of tropical America, and was introduced at an early date into the West Indies, where it is now naturalised. Sir Hans Sloane, in his “History of Jamaica” (1707–25), gives a long description of the tree and its fruit, and Dr. Patrick Browne (1756) is eloquent on the flavour of the latter and the esteem in which it is held. The edible portion of the fruit varies from a little under one-half to more than three-quarters of the weight of the whole, according to the thickness of the rind and the relative size of the seed. Its food-value is mainly due to its high fat content, which in some varieties approaches that of the olive, and is especially high in the fruit grown in Florida and California.

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