Common Varieties


There are three Horticultural Races of avocado namely, Mexican, Guatemalan and West Indian. West Indian cultivars have large, smooth, shiny-skinned fruits containing more water and less fat (monounsaturated oil) than the other groups. They are sometimes marketed as “lite” avocados with fewer calories. They are typically grown in warm, tropical climates, such as southern Floridaand the Hawaiian Islands. The Guatemalan group was originally from the highlands of Guatemala. Cultivars in this group can be grown in more temperate climates than the West Indian group. A popular Guatemalan cultivar grown in southern Californiais the ‘Hass,’ easily recognizable by its thick, black, rough-skinned fruit. The Mexican group includes some of the hardiest and most commonly grown cultivars in southern California, including ‘Duke,’ ‘Mexicola,’ and ‘Zutano.’  The followings are some of the characteristics of the three avocado races:


a) Mexican
  • Native to highlands ofMexico, Andes toChile, 2400 to 2800 m
    •  Flowers generally more pubescent (hairy); bloom earliest in the season.
    • Fruits small; fruit skin thin to membranous, rarely over 0.75 mm; seed relatively large to very large, and often loose; fruit pulp commonly rich to strong in flavor, sometimes with anise aroma; often fibrous; ripen 6-8 months (rapid development)
    • Leaves are “anise” scented; under-surfaces more glaucous (whitened with a bloom).
    • Most cold hardy of the avocado races; also more resistant to heat and low humidity
    • Trees found in higher elevations, hardy; least tolerant to soil salinity; arely does well in coastal environment
  • Up to 30% oil

b)Guatemalan Race

  • Native to highlands of Central America toEcuadorandMexico, 800 to 2400 m
  • No anise leaf scent; young foliage more commonly reddish
    • Large fruit, rough skin usually thick and leathery to woody, sometimes over 6 mm
  • Fruits mature 9–14 months, winter cultivar
  • Important commercial race; seeds are small, tight in cavity
  • Trees cold resistant
  • Hybrids of Guatemalan race most useful commercially
  • 7.5 to 18% oil

c)West Indian Race

  • Native to lowlands of Central and South America, only introduced intoWest Indies.
  • No anise leaf scent
  • Quite sensitive to cold
  • Fruit size variable, skin thin and smooth leathery
    • At point of fruit attachment, the pedicels have a unique nailhead configuration.
  • Early maturing, 6 to 9 months (summer variety)
  • Most tolerant to soil salinity
  • Seeds loose, relatively large, can shake in fruit
  • Cotyledons rough
  • Pulp milk to watery in flavor
  • 5–7% oil

Avocado fruits (Persea americana): A. West Indian cultivar, B. Guatemalan cultivar (‘Hass’), and C. Mexican x Guatemalan cultivar (‘Fuerte’).

Recommended cultivars and varieties:
1. Grown cultivars, varieties and characteristics
Anaheim: Origin Otto Keup,Anaheim, 1910. Guatemalan. Tree is columnar, productive. Fruit very large, to 680 g, elongated glossy green, seed small, oil 15%.



Bacon: Origin James Bacon,Buena Park, 1954. Hybrid. Tree is broad, productive. Fruit is small to medium, to 40 g, round-ovoid, smooth green. Flesh is only fair, almost colorless with seed cavity molds rapidly.


Creamhart: Origin Orton Englehart,Escondido, 1969.  Hybrid.  Seedling of Reed. Tree is open, upright, branching. Fruit medium, to 397 g, skin green flesh extraordinarily pale,buttery, nearly fiberless. Not alternate bearing.
Duke: OriginBangor (Oroville), 1912. Tree vigorous, open, resists wind. Fruit small, 340 g, elongated pyriform, waxy green, skin paper-thin. Flesh excellent, oil 21%. Seeds commonly used for rootstocks, resist root rot. Extraordinarily hardy, recovers quickly from freeze, to -5.5 °C. Season October.
Frazer (Guatemala): Large fruit size (312 g up to 482 g), lemon-shaped, with a thick, pebbly black skin.


Fuerte: OriginAtlixco,Mexico, intro. Carl Schmidt, 1911. Hybrid. Tree open, spreading and tall. Fruit large to very large, 454 g., elongated pyriform, skin dark green with numerous small raised pale spots, waxy bloom, skin thin. Flesh good, oil 18%, seed medium. This is the most popular fruit in general planting. It is the variety upon which the avocado industry was built. It has excellent flavor, texture, and shipping qualities. Formerly is a standard cultivar ofCalifornia industry. Tends to bear in alternate years; unproductive near coast or in north.
Ganter: Origin Albert Rideout, Whittier, 1905.Mexico. Tree is tall, spreading and open. Fruit is small, to 227 g., long pyriform, skin paper-thin, pale waxy green. Flesh good, oil 18%. It is the oldest avocado cultivar inCalifornia.

Gem: Open pollinated ‘Gwen’ seedling. Average fruit weight: 275 g. Average skin thickness: 1.6 mm. Seems to set fruit every year. Tree habit: spreading but ‘Gwen’-like.


Gwen: Origin Riverside, Robert Whitsell, 1982, patented. It is seedling of Hass. Tree is dwarf, to 4.2 m, low vigor. Fruit small, to 227 g., a Hass look alike, elongated green, flesh good. Most productive of dwarf avocados, best dwarf for outdoor use, also for containers, greenhouse.


Harvest: Open pollinated ‘Gwen’ seedling. Average fruit weight: 255 g. Average skin thickness: 1.7 mm. Has a strong tendency to alternate bear. Tree habit: open tree.


Hass: Origin Rudolph Hass,La HabraHeights, 1926. It is seedling ofLyon.Guatemala. It is a cultivar of avocado with dark-colored, bumpy skin. Tree is rather open, not tall. Fruit is medium, to 340 g, pyriform, skin thick, pebbled, coppery purple. Flesh good, oil 19%, seed fairly small. It is the most important avocado in the commercial market worldwide. In theUnited States, it accounts for more than 80% of the avocado crop, and it is also the most widely grown avocado inNew Zealand. It produces a medium-sized fruit, weighing 200-300 g. The skin turns a dark, purplish-black when ripe, while the skin of “green” cultivars remains green. When ripe, it yields to gentle pressure; soft avocados are generally considered over-ripe and possibly rancid.


Jim: Origin John Reinecke, San Diego, 1939. Hybrid. Tree is upright. Fruit small to medium, to 284 g, olive green, with long neck, oil 12%.

Lula: Origin George Cellon,Miami, 1919. West Indian. Tree is dense, broad, prolific. Fruit is round, slightly pyriform, to 567 g, slightly rough glossy green, oil 12%.

Lyon: Origin R. Lyon,Hollywood, 1908. Central American. Tree is columnar, slow growing, difficult to propagate, often scion incompatible. Fruit is commonly over 680 g., dark glossy green, rough, pyriform, oil 21% and high quality.

McArthur: A variety that is no longer recommended because of poor quality fruit containing the stringy fibers.


Marvel : Open pollinated ‘Gwen’ seedling. Compact tree, hides fruit well Average fruit weight: 213 g. Average skin thickness: 1.2 mm. Tree habit: upright.


Mexicola: Origin Coolidge,Pasadena, 1910. Mexican. Tree is tall, spreading and vigorous. Fruit small, 141 g., round pyriform, skin paper-thin, purplish black, waxy bloom. Flesh is highest quality, seed very large. It is the hardiest known cultivar; seedlings are useful as rootstocks in far north. It recovers rapidly from freeze.

Mexicola Grande: Seedling selection of Mexicola. Mexican. Tree tall and spreading similar to Mexicola. Fruit is 15% – 25% larger than Mexicola and somewhat rounder in shape with better seed/flesh ratio. Skin is paper-thin, purple-black. The flesh is high quality with high oil content.

Murrieta Green: Origin Colima, Mexico, introduced by Juan Murrieta, 1910. Hybrid. Tree slow growing, easily trained. Fruit is large, to 510 g, oblate, green, resembling Fuerte. Flesh is exceptional, oil 18%. Cultivar is readily adaptable to espalier.



Nabal: OriginAntigua,Guatemala, intro. by F.W. Popenoe, 1917. Tree is dense, columnar. Fruit handsome, large pyriform, to 482 g, green, skin resembles Fuerte. Flesh exceptionally high quality, oil 16%. Young trees require pinching to force low branching. Trees tend to bear in alternate years

Nobel: Open pollinated ‘Gwen’ seedling. Average fruit weight: 249 g. Average skin thickness: 1.4 mm. This variety does not produce much budwood. Tree habit: weeping but more or less compact and upright.


Pinkerton: Origin John D. Pinkerton, Saticoy, 1972, patented. Guatemalan. Tree is dense, productive. Fruit is variable in size, 198 to 340 g, skin thick, pebbled, green.

Queen: OriginAntigua,Guatemala, introduced by E.E. Knight, 1914. Guatemalan. Tree is broad. Fruit is exceptionally large, to 680 g, elongated, purple, flesh excellent, 13% oil content. It is fairly hardy.


Puebla: OriginAtlixco,Mexico, introduced by Carl Schmidt, 1911. Mexican. Tree is broad, high branching. Fruit is beautiful, medium to large, to 18 oz., ovoid, thin skin, lacquered maroon purple. Flesh excellent, oil 20%. It is least hardy Mexican type temperature below 0 ° C.

Reed : Origin James S. Reed,Carlsbad, 1948. Hybrid. It is a cross between theAnaheim and Nabal varieties. Tree is columnar. Fruit is large, to 425 g, round, skin thick, pebbled, green. Flesh is good. It appears to be a high quality fruit, with a small seed, ripening in the summer.


Rincon: OriginCarlsbad, Sam Thompson, 1944. Hybrid. Tree is small. Fruit is small to medium, 283 g, green, resembling Fuerte. Flesh is good.


‘Rincon’ fruit has large seed and the dark areas in the flesh which are “strings”. This is a medium quality fruit.


Ryan: Origin Albert Rideout, Whittier, 1927. Hybrid. Tree is low, spreading. Fruit medium, to 397 g, elongated, otherwise resembles Hass, skin thick, pebbled, purple. Flesh good, oil 25%.


Spinks: Origin E. Bradbury, Bradbury, 1911. Hybrid. Tree is spreading. Fruit is medium, to 425 g, round with small neck, tangelo shaped; lacquered, coppery purple, outstanding flavor, oil 16%.


Topa Topa: Origin E.S. Thatcher, Ojai, 1912. Mexican. Tree is columnar, vigorous. Fruit handsome, elongated pyriform, small to medium, 227 g., smooth dark purple with white waxy bloom. Skin is paper-thin. Flesh is rather poor, oil 15%, seed is elongated. Seedlings are commonly used for rootstocks because of its hardiness.


Whitsell: Origin Robert Whitsell, Riverside,1982, patented. Hybrid. Hass is seedling. Tree is dwarf, to 12 feet, low vigor. Fruit small, 170 g, elongated Hass look alike. Flesh is good. It bears fruits in alternate years. It is suitable for containers and greenhouse only; not hardy.



Wurtz (syn. Littlecado): Origin Roy Wurtz, Encinitas, 1935. Hybrid. Tree is prostrate, difficult to train, low vigor. Fruit is dark green, medium, to 283.5 g.


Zutano: Origin R.L. Ruitt, Fallbrook, 1926. Hybrid. Tree is columnar. ‘Zutano’ fruit is considered of medium quality and is picked from October to February. Fruit is small to medium, elongated smooth green; resembles Fuerte but inferior because it has fibers.


2.  Clone and cultivar characteristics

a – General characteristics may vary according to climatic zones for all varieties
b – Other minor varieties including Anaheim, Covacado, Jim, McArthur, Rincon, Santana, Susan are also not recommended.
c – These varieties are considered to show promise, but need limited commercial testing. Data presented is only tentative.
d – Topworked trees may exhibit different tree shape. S=Spreading; U=Upright; I=Irregular.
e – Yields may be enhanced by cross pollination with opposite flower type which blooms at the same time.
f – NR = Not Recommended
g – Topworked trees tend to be more upright.
h – NE = not established
i – Fruiting Season: W=winter, SP=spring, Su=summer, Fa=fall



a – General characteristics may vary according to climatic zones for all varieties.
b – Other minor varieties including Anaheim, Covacado, Jim, McArthur, Rincon, Santana, Susan are also not recommended.
c – These varieties are considered to show promise, but need limited commercial testing. Data presented is only tentative.
d – Data presented from California Avocado Commission Consumer Taste Panel (1986-87) for all varieties except Whitsell.
e – NE = Not Established
f – Early season Pinkerton require ethylene conditioning for satisfactory ripening.


Many varieties have been introduced intoPhilippinessince 1903 and most of them have been lost. Today, only a few varieties exist. Most of them are selections from local seedling trees, and they are confined to only a few nurseries and backyards. Depending upon the variety, the plants are set at 8-10 m apart to give a population of 100-156 trees per hectare.
These are:
Cardinal: The fruit bottlenecked with an average weight of 400 grams. The skin is reddish-purple and thick (1.3 mm). The seed is small (40 g) and is loose to tight in the cavity. The flesh is yellow, moderately fibrous and constitutes 80 per cent of the whole fruit by weight.


Calma: The fruit ovoid and weighing 600 grams. The skin is reddish-purple and intermedi

ate in thickness (1.0 mm). The seed is small (80 g) and is loose in the cavity. The flesh is yellow and is 80 per cent of the whole fruit by weight.

Uno: The fruit ovoid and weighing 400 grams. The skin is purple and is rather thick (2.0 mm). The seed is small (80 g) and is loose to tight in the cavity. The flesh is creamy yellow and is 80 per cent of the whole fruit by weight.


240: The fruit ovoid and weighing 600 grams. The skin is green and thin (1.26 mm). The seed is intermediate in size (90 g) and is rather loose in the cavity. The flesh is creamy yellow and is 80 per cent of the whole fruit by weight.


227: The fruit is bottlenecked and weighing 500 grams. The skin is purple and thick (1.3 mm). The seed is small (50 g) and is loose in the cavity. The flesh is dark yellow and is 80 per cent of the whole fruit by weight.


Recently, three new varieties were approved by the National Seed Industry Council. However, these have not yet been released to the private nurseries. These new varieties are:


Parker: The fruit ovoid and having an average weight of 600 grams. The skin is purple and thick (1.1 mm). The seed is small in size (70 g) and is tight in the cavity. The flesh is creamy yellow and is 80 per cent of the whole fruit by weight.


RCF Purple: The fruit ovoid and weighing 400 grams. The skin is reddish-purple and thick (1.2 mm). The seed is small (40 g) and is loose in the cavity. The flesh is creamy yellow and is 80 per cent of the whole fruit by weight.


Cepillo Green: The fruit pyriform and weighing 700 grams. The skin is green and intermediate in thickness (0.9 mm). The seed is intermediate in size (90 g). The flesh is dark yellow and is 80 per cent of the whole fruit by weight.


The varieties grown inIndonesiaare of two types supposedly derived from the West Indian race which has a bigger fruit size. On the other hand, the smaller types are from the Mexican race and its natural hybrids. In general, people differentiate the avocado into two big groups; the butter type (or mentega), the fruits of which are rich in nutrient constituents and have high content of fat and vitamin A, and the milk type (or susu) which has rather thin flesh and low fat content. There are also the ‘Ijo panjang’ and ‘Ijo bundar’ types which are long and round, green in skin color with relatively small seeds. From these types there are the ‘Tawangmangu’, ‘Batu’ and ‘Lembang’ varieties. There is also the ‘Gontor’ type, the fruits of which are medium-sized, round, purple, having rather rough skin.


In Thailand, avocado plants were introduced by missionaries and were planted initially in Nan province in northernThailandabout 90 years ago. Some seedlings from these introductions are currently found around this area. In 1965, the Department of Horticulture,KasetsartUniversity, introduced some avocado cultivars which included Kanoe, Ruehle, Kampong and Monk and planted them at Pak Chong Research Station, Nakhon Ratchasima province. Some avocado cultivars were also introduced by interested growers. In 1975, the Department of Horticulture,KasetsartUniversity, with support from the World Bank introduced 11 cultivars of avocado fromFlorida,USA, and established them at Pak Chong Research Station. The introduced cultivars were Buccanaer, Booth 7, Booth 8, Catalina, Choquette, Hall, Lula, Peterson, Queen, Taylor and Waldin. The Hass, Bacon and Reed cultivars were introduced also fromCaliforniain 1993. The production and planted area of avocado inThailandincreases every year. At present, avocado trees are found planted in Nakhon Ratchasima, Chaiyaphum,Nan, Tak, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Rayong, Chanthaburi and Songkhla provinces. However, the big concentration is in the northern and northeastern regions.


Spacing of avocado is dependent on the cultivars and the soil conditions of each site. InThailand, a spacing of 8 x 6 m is used for Ruehle, Peterson, Hass and Buccanaer, whereas wider spacings of 8 x 8 m, 8 x 10 m, and 10 x 10 ms are used for Booth 7, Booth 8 and Hall cultivars.


In India, avocado is not a commercial fruit crop. It was introduced fromSri Lankain the early part of the twentieth century. In a very limited scale and in a scattered way it is grown in Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Maharashtra, Karnataka in the south-central India and in the eastern Himalayan state of Sikkim. It can not tolerate the hot dry winds and frosts of northernIndia. Climatically, it is grown in tropical or semitropical areas experiencing some rainfall in summer, and in humid, subtropical summer rainfall areas. All three horticultural races adapted to tropical and sub-tropical conditions i.e. West Indian, Guatemalan and Mexican have been tried inIndia. The cultivars of West Indian race are grown in localized pockets inMaharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. In tropical and near-tropical areas, only West Indian race is well-adapted but its hybrids with Guatemalan (e.g. Booth selection) perform well and are considered valuable for extending the harvest season. In less tropical regions, hybrids of Guatemalan with Mexican race predominate since they combine the cold hardiness of the latter with the superior horticultural traits of both and also bridge the two seasons of maturity. In the eastern Himalayan state ofSikkim, avocado has been introduced successfully in hill ranges with an altitude of 800 to 1,600 m. Both the Mexican and Gautemalan races are grown successfully inSikkim. In avocado-growing areas ofSikkim, temperatures range from 12 to 30°C with an average annual rainfall of 2,000 mm. The Mexican race is cultivated on mid-altitude hills (pH 5-6). InIndia, avocado is commonly propagated through seeds. The seeds taken from mature fruits are sown directly in the nursery or in polyethylene bags. When 6-8 months old, the seedlings are ready for transplanting. Such seedling trees at 10-15 years produce 300 to 400 fruits. Avocado is planted out to a distance of 6 to 12 m depending on the vigour of variety and its growth habit. For varieties having a spreading type of growth, like Fuerte, a wider spacing should be given. In areas prone to excess water, they should be planted on mounds as avocados cannot withstand waterlogging. InSikkim, a planting distance of 10 x 10 m on hills slopes (on half-moon terraces) is preferred and planting is done in June-July. Pits of 90 x 90 cm are dug during February-March, and filled with farmyard manure and top soil (1:1 ratio) before planting. In Coorg, a region of Karnataka state, they have been planted also as one of the mixed crops in a primarily coffee-based cropping system.


Avocado production inAustraliais based on named varieties so that all trees sold are grafted. Rootstocks used are either seedlings of the Guatemalan (Velvick) or Mexican (Duke 7) races; however, there is increasing interest in using vegetative cloned rootstocks of elite selections.


Australian production enjoys a wide geographic distribution growing between latitudes 17°S and 34°S. This environmental diversity, combined with selected varieties, gives fruit supply to markets on a year-round basis. Production peaks from June to November with lighter supplies during the summer months.QueenslandandNew South Walesare the largest producing states with an estimated 60 and 30 per cent, respectively. The balance of the crop is grown inVictoria,South AustraliaandWestern Australiawhere plantings are more recent but tree numbers are rapidly increasing, buoyed by higher prices for summer production. Depending on the value of land, either intensive or extensive planting densities are used by Australian growers. Intensive planting densities rely on the principle that close-planted trees will be thinned as they begin to crowd so the mature orchard will have a reduced number of trees compared with the initial number. Initial tree numbers planted are about 300 per ha but once thinned are reduced to about 170 per ha. Various spacing configurations are used including 6 x 6 m and 7 x 5 m so that greater cash flow is generated in the early years of the orchard to compensate the extra costs of establishment. In extensive-planted orchards, trees are planted in the position they will occupy for the life of the orchard. One of the most popular spacing in extensive-planted orchards is 9 x 7 m which gives a tree population 150 trees/hectare.


The Australian avocado industry is based on Mexican/Guatemalan race cultivars thereby differing from the tropics where avocado production is based on West Indian race cultivars. The main cultivars grown in order of maturity are:


‘Shepard’: a cultivar developed inCalifornia. It is a precocious, heavy-cropping, semi-dwarf tree with green pear-shaped fruit. The flesh is pale yellow when ripe with a smooth, buttery texture. It has a B-type flower pattern and is sensitive to the environment during flowering with a requirement that night temperatures do not fall below 12°C. The fruit has moderate disease and pest resistance and it is the earliest maturing cultivar. Its major disadvantage is the large size seed.


‘Fuerte’: the main cultivar inAustralia from the 1960s through to the late 1980s, but today of lesser importance and gradually being replaced by other cultivars. Developed inCalifornia it is a green-skinned, pear-shaped fruit maturing shortly after ‘Shepard’. It has a B-type flower and its cropping is more reliable in warmer climates.


‘Sharwil’: selected as a new cultivar inQueensland and thought to be predominantly Guatemalan with some Mexican race genes. The tree is vigorous with the potential to set heavy crops of smooth, green, pear-shaped fruit. Flesh quality is excellent and seed size typically 13 – 15 per cent of the fruit. The cultivar has a B-type flower pattern with a sensitive reaction to environment (temperature x flowering). ‘Sharwil’ is a mid season-maturing variety coming in after ‘Fuerte. It has become the most important cultivar ofHawaii, and is more disease and pest resistant than Fuerte.

‘Pinkerton’: a Mexican/Guatemalan hybrid. It was bred inCalifornia and crops heavily and reliably in most districts inAustralia. It has an A-type flower and the tree is semi-dwarf in habit. Fruits are green-skinned with a slight pebbly texture and a long neck.

‘Hass’: currently the most important cultivar and grown in all districts inAustralia. ‘Hass’ was selected inCalifornia. The tree is upright and vigorous with an A-flower type. It produces ovate fruit with a pebbly skin that changes from green to black when ripening. ‘Hass’ is a late-maturing variety with some tolerance to fruit diseases and pests. Crops are heavy and reliable as long as fruits are not hung too late. Fruit size tends to be small in the warmer areas of production.


‘Reed’ and ‘Wurtz’: two late maturing cultivars of minor importance. ‘Reed’ is a prolific-cropping cultivar with large, round, green-skinned fruit of excellent quality. It is a cultivar of the Guatemalan race and trees are upright and semi-vigorous. ‘Wurtz’ has a pear-shaped, green-skinned fruit which it bears on a densely foliaged, semi-dwarf tree with a weeping habit. Cropping can be strongly biennial
A major part of the avocado area in theIsraelis along the coastal plain, but notable growing area is located in the interior hot valleys. Three-quarters of the total avocado areas in the country are planted on various types of Grumusols, heavy-textured soils containing 8-20% lime (CaCO3), with pH 7.8 – 8.2 and with fair internal drainage. In the coastal plain, some


orchards are planted on loamy sends with no lime (pH 7-7.3) or, in the south-west, with 5-10% lime.In the Sea of Galilee Valley, some orchards are planted on very calcareous soils (40% CaCO3), with trees grafted on specific adaptable rootstocks. Since 1995, the cultivars planted are: ‘Fuerte’ – 25%, ‘Ettinger’ – 25%, ‘Hass’ – 30%, ‘Nabal’ – 4% and ‘Reed’ – 6% and recently the local cultivars (as shown below) are introduced for commercial production.


Presently, the main commercial avocado cultivars are from California namely ‘Fuerte’, ‘Hass’, ‘Nabal’, ‘Reed’, ‘Pinkerton’, ‘Ardith’   except ‘Ettinger’ which is a local selection of a chance seedling. Parentage is unknown, but it contains certain traits of the Mexican race such as tolerance to low temperatures (4 hours of -6°C in a mature tree) and thin skin. Harvest season is early but short: mainly October through November. Bright green skinned, with good commercial size. High internal quality and yields are good to medium. It is also a potent pollinizer to ‘Hass’ and ‘Pinkerton’ (and perhaps additional cultivars).


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