Avocado or Alligator Pear Laurel TreeThe Avocado, or Alligator Pear (P. gratissima, Gaertn.), grows wild in the West Indies, Brazil, Peru and Mexico. It is cultivated in Florida and southern California. The berry in this species has the size and the shape of a Kieffer pear. It has smooth, greenish-purple skin, and a yellow pulp, soft and oily like marrow, surrounds the single giant seed.
The flavour is peculiar, and strangers to it have to acquire a liking for it. When this preliminary step is taken, they often become extremely fond of it. It is usually cut in two like a melon, and eaten as a salad, dressed with vinegar, salt and pepper.
The abundant oil expressed from these pears is used in soap making and for illumination. The seeds yield a black dye that is converted into an indelible ink. The growing of the trees is easy and profitable. They begin to fruit in about five years from seed.