There are a few things we know for sure about avocados: They’re full of healthy fats, they’re the main ingredient in guacamole, and they’re fruits. If that last one tripped you up, don’t worry — it’s a common misconception that avocados fall in the vegetable category.
Like pumpkins and tomatoes (also fruits), they don’t taste sweet. But the sweet versus savory distinction doesn’t check out when it comes to the actual deciding factors between fruits and vegetables.
Avocados are the fruit of a tree native to Central America, and they’re part of the Lauraceae family, which is comprised of about 2,850 different species of plants.
According to Merriam-Webster, a fruit is “the usually edible reproductive body of a seed plant; especially: one having a sweet pulp.” In this case, since you can eat avocados and grow new ones from the pits, they’re categorized as a fruit.
Related Stories Even though this definition adds that fruits often taste sweet, it’s definitely not a requirement. For comparison, potatoes are a vegetable because they’re exclusively an edible part of the plant, but not a reproductive part.
So if you ever wanted to grow your own avocados, you can save the pits and plant them. But you’ll have to have patience with trying this method instead of planting a tree that you purchased. The California Avocado Commission says it can take anywhere from five to 13 (!) years from planting a seed for the tree to actually bear fruit.
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And in case the fact that they’re fruits isn’t crazy enough, avocados also technically qualify as a type of berry in the field of botany. Merriam-Webster explains that “a true berry has its seeds inside the pulpy flesh.” (Yes, that means that strawberries don’t fit the technical definition for berries.)
To add more avocado into your diet, try them in salads, as an edible bowl, or with soup. Good Housekeeping’s Nutrition Director Jaclyn London, MS, RD, CDN, says they’re healthy enough to eat every day when you use half of an avocado as a serving size.
- Is Avocado a Fruit or Vegetable? Or it’s a tree nut? Check out this article to steer clear of all the doubts related to the identity of avocado.
- Is Avocado a Fruit or Vegetable?
- Is An Avocado a Berry
- The Culinary Culture of Avocados
- Nutritional Value of Avocados
- The Difference in Fruits and Vegetables
- Avocado Fruit Drop: Why Is My Avocado Dropping Unripe Fruit
- Some Fruit Drop in Avocado Trees is Normal
- Stress Can Cause Avocado Fruit Drop
- When Avocado Tree Drops Fruit, Look for Pests
- What’s New on the MG Site?
- Indoor Avocado Plant Drooping Severely
Avocado is considered as fruit as per botanical terms. It’s domestic to Mexico and grows best in a warm climate on avocado trees. But on the USDA website, it’s listed as a vegetable because of its various uses in cooking.
The nutrient-rich fruit is a treasure of vitamins and minerals and has become a favorite of weight watchers. Hitting the diet chart, this fruit is packed with fiber, potassium, heart-friendly unsaturated fats, and a huge number of antioxidants.
Is Avocado a Fruit or Vegetable?
Coming to the most prominent question of this article–Is avocado a fruit or vegetable? The answer is YES! Technically and based on botanical terms, it’s a fruit, more precisely, a large single-seeded berry. But due to its sweet and savory flavor, this buttery fruit is entitled as a vegetable in USDA listing.
Also Read: Do Almonds Grow on Trees?
Is An Avocado a Berry
Avocado fruit looks similar to peaches and plums, but it’s a berry. Why? Because these drupe fruits have hard-woody endocarp. Whereas, avocado has the soft and very thin endocarp (the inner layer of any fruit that covers the seeds or pit) and fleshy mesocarp, the pulpy middle part between the endocarp and exocarp. These are the characteristics of a berry, according to the botanical definitions.
The Culinary Culture of Avocados
Avocado has a nutty or buttery taste. It’s generally more cooked as a savory snack. With a pinch of salt and a few drops of lemon juice, avocado tastes so heavenly! You can use it as a spread on a sandwich, blanched in pasta, guacamole dip, and an exceptional replacement for butter too. Use soft avocado for a dip and hard ones for salads; you can also prepare creamy avocado pesto.
Due to these qualities, most people misunderstand this fruit as a vegetable.
Apart from savory dishes, avocado also enhances the taste of sweet platter. By just adding in puddings or baking in cupcakes, this fruit is lip-smacking.
Nutritional Value of Avocados
This creamy textured fruit is also known as butter fruit and alligator pear. This multiskilled fruit is a prominent source of monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) and contains approximately twenty vitamins and minerals: Vitamin C, E, K and B-6, Riboflavin, Omega-3 Fatty Acids, Niacin, Folic Acid, Potassium, Beta Carotene, Magnesium, and Pantothenic acid.
Along with the power of vitamins and minerals, Avocado also contains a substantial amount of fats. You don’t need to worry about the fat content of this fruit as fat is required for the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins, nutrients, and minerals. Consumption of good fat helps in weight loss, healthy skin, and reducing the risk of heart disease.
The Difference in Fruits and Vegetables
It’s not as difficult as it seems to differentiate between fruits and vegetables. Fruits carry seeds and obtained through plant parts called flowers. More specifically, the ovary of a flower develops into fruits. On the contrary, vegetables come from roots, leaves, and stems.
Avocado comes in the category of fruit. But due to the savory taste and its uses in cooking, it’s often misconstrued as a vegetable. Because of this reason, some other fruits are also classified as vegetables:
Tomatoes, bell peppers, eggplants, cucumbers, and zucchini are also coming in both categories due to their culinary uses and origin. A very famous quote is associated with this confusion “Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it into a fruit salad.” Conversely, you can put an avocado both in fruit salad as well as into vegetable salad, as avocado is an all-rounder food.
Avocado Fruit Drop: Why Is My Avocado Dropping Unripe Fruit
It could be normal if your avocado tree is losing fruit, or it could mean you have a problem. Avocado dropping unripe fruit is a natural process to relieve a tree of too much fruit, but stress and pests can also cause abnormal and excessive fruit loss.
Some Fruit Drop in Avocado Trees is Normal
An avocado tree will typically drop some of its unripe fruit in the summer simply because it has grown more fruit than the tree can reasonably support. This is normal and allows your tree to better support and develop the remaining fruit. Regular thinning of fruit can often help alleviate this.
The fruit that drops may be very small, no bigger than a pea, or a little larger, like a walnut. You may see a thin line on the stem where the fruit detaches. This can be a sign that it is normal fruit drop and not caused by a disease or pest.
Stress Can Cause Avocado Fruit Drop
Although some fruit drop is normal, there can be issues causing your tree to lose more than is typical. One cause is that of stress. Water stress, for instance, can cause a tree to lose fruit prematurely. Both under and overwatering cause this. Your avocado tree needs soil that drains well and adequate watering, especially during hot weather.
Avocado feeder roots lie close to the soil, so stress or damage to them causes unwanted fruit drop. To avoid this, let the leaves of the tree that have fallen stay on the ground and provide a protective barrier. Alternatively, add mulch under your avocado trees.
There is some evidence, although not conclusive, that too much nitrogen fertilizer can stress an avocado tree and cause fruit drop. Avoid using fertilizer, or at least limit nitrogen, between the months of April through June.
When Avocado Tree Drops Fruit, Look for Pests
An infestation of avocado thrips is the most likely pest culprit causing avocado fruit drop, but mites can also be an issue. If you have persea mites infesting your tree, fruit drop will be the last symptom of an extreme problem. First, you will see spots on the undersides of leaves, silvery webbing on leaves, and then leaf drop.
Avocado thrips are a more likely and subtle cause of fruit drop. Look for scarring on new fruits, close to the stem end (these will eventually be all over). The thrips feed on the stem, which causes the damage and then drop. Once you see signs of thrips, unfortunately, the damage to affected fruit is already done.
To manage thrips the following year, you can use an appropriate spray during the setting of the fruit. Check with a local nursery or your extension office for advice on what to use and how to spray. Avocado thrips are a fairly new pest in the U.S. so control measures are not yet standardized.
What’s New on the MG Site?
This year my avocado suddenly dropped all its immature fruit.
Summer drop of immature is normal since the tree sets more fruit than it can support. However, if all the fruit drops, then there could be several reasons why:
1- disturbing the surface roots under the tree. Avocado feeder roots are very near the surface, and if you disturb them by digging or raking, then tree responds by dropping fruit. Allow any avocado leaves that fall off the tree to remain on the ground underneath the tree – they form a natural mulch that helps protect the roots and helps keeps the soil moist.
2- water stress, either too much or too little, can cause the fruit to drop. Avocado trees require well-draining soil, so overwatering can cause root rot. Too little water, especially in hot weather can also cause stress and fruit drop.
3- avocado thrips – if the stems of the fruit look damaged, consider avocado thrips.
Some of the fruit on my avocado tree is shriveling and turning black.
When the fruit turns black, consider a fungus infection. There are several fungi that can cause black spots or shriveled fruit. Consider Dothiorella or Phytophthora fruit rot, or stem end rot, all caused by various fungi. Review these photos that can help identify fruit problems.
When is the best time to prune avocado trees?
The best time to prune an avocado tree is really anytime, as long as you are doing a light pruning. If you wish to do a heavy pruning on your avocado tree, then you may want to wait until late winter or early spring, which is right before the active growing period for the tree. This will ensure that the tree regains its full shape faster after a heavy pruning.
If you want to trim back the height, don’t do it all at once. The first year, trim the tallest branch off the tree. The following year, trim the next tallest, and so on. When it comes to the width of the tree, start with the longest, most unruly branch first, and work your way in each year with another branch. In either case, when pruning avocado trees, never cut more than 1/3 of a branch off.
Read more about avocado care. Contact the Hotline.
I grew some avocados from seed and I actually gave up on them. It was an experiment but since they were so difficult to keep happy (in New Jersey…) and not likely to grow fruit for many years I cut my losses. Your tree however, having come from a nursery, will have been grafted and will give fruit. The leaf drop was most likely to be due to shock. Avocados just don’t do well with any kind of change and any stress can cause them to drop their leaves. I think you are right about the first location, the trees need a bit of protection from harsh sun so a little bit of shading is good. It may well recover and, surprisingly, one of the best things you can do is to leave it alone. I would be inclined to leave it where it is in the pot for now and allow it to recover. Don’t overdo watering, let the soil dry out before you give it more. If it recovers you could try planting it again in the knowledge that the stress may cause a second leaf drop from which it may or may not recover. Perhaps this one can stay a beautiful potted avocado once it regains it leaves?
Indoor Avocado Plant Drooping Severely
I used to manage a research avocado nursery. Kristena LaMar is correct
Superficially, this tree looks like it is not getting enough water. There are a few possible reasons for this:
1. The seed has finally withered and died so the plant has to survive on its own root system. This root system might not be healthy enough to sustain the plant.
2. Tree not given enough water
3. Tree given too much water – more common than you think. Avocados don’t like wet feet. This results in the root suffocating and dying so the tree can’t pull up enough water so look water stressed so people water more which drowns and kills the tree.
I don’t think it is salt burn, that results in the tips and margin of the leaves burning.
Questions for you to answer:
1. How much and how often do you water?
2. Are the roots healthy? Scratch around the roots, if they are brown/black they are dead. Avocado roots should be look like spaghetti.
3. What is the potting mix made of? Cocopeat, composted pine bark? it looks very heavy which is not good for avocados.
4. How wet is the potting mix? While you’re looking at the roots, feel the mix, if it feels wet below the surface it is probably too wet. Let it dry out for a few days.