The avocado (Persea americana), aguacate or palta (Spanish), butter pear or alligator pear, is a tree native to the Caribbean, Mexico, South America and Central America, classified in the flowering plant family Lauraceae along with cinnamon, camphor and bay laurel. The name "avocado" also refers to the fruit (technically a large berry that contains a large seed) of the tree which may be egg-shaped or spherical.
Avocados are a commercially valuable fruit and are cultivated in tropical climates throughout the world (and some temperate ones, such as California), producing a green-skinned, pear-shaped fruit that ripens after harvesting. Trees are partially self-pollinating and often are propagated through grafting to maintain a predictable quality and quantity of the fruit. Avocados are perennial.