The introduction and evaluation of West Indian avocados to South Florida, USA
Avocado (Persea americana Mill.) is a traditional domesticated fruit tree indigenous to Mesoamerica. It is a member of the Lauraceae family and is separated into three horticultural races; namely the Mexican (P. americana var. drymifolia), Guatemalan (P. americana var. guatemalensis) and West Indian (P. americana var. americana) races (Sánchez-Collin et al., 1998). Expeditions were conducted from 2002 to 2006, focusing on local West Indian avocado and Guatemalan hybrid selections of superior fruit quality and adaptation to the climatic and edaphic conditions of the area. As a genetic resource, these selections hold promise for the improvement of disease resistance (Phytophthora root rot), fruit quality and productivity of avocado throughout Tropical America and the world. Working with local collaborators we concentrated our collection efforts on superior selections within home gardens, public areas and small orchards of each region. More than 200 different selections of West Indian avocado and Guatemalan hybrids were collected during 4 years in Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Guatemala, Panama, Ghana and Puerto Rico. Evaluation of fruit and tree characteristics began in 2005 and we have now identified several green- and red-skinned cultivars with promise for commercial and landscape use in Florida and in Tropical America, Africa and Asia.
Ledesma, N. and Campbell, R.J. (2020). The introduction and evaluation of West Indian avocados to South Florida, USA. Acta Hortic. 1299, 305-308
Guatemalan hybrid, Persea americana, West Indian avocado