Avocados have been cultivated by humans for 7,000 years. and are no longer found in nature in their current form. Their ancestors were from Central America. They are in the laurel family, Lauraceae. In zones 9-10 they are hardy outdoors, though in other climates they can be grown as a house plant. They rarely bear fruit indoors, but the leaves are attractive.
In Uncle John’s yard in Hilo, on the Big island of Hawaii, a chameleon sailed down from the avocado tree on a large leaf and landed, startled, near our feet.
On my window-sill in Piazza Indipendenza, Florence, a small army of seeds sprouted in glass jars. I bought the big fruits at the central market, they were imported from Israel, they were very cheap and each one was amazingly good. The pits opened and put out a root, then after a few weeks a folded pair of olive-colored leaves emerged. I drew them again and again. The italians use the same word for avocado.
On the way north from Thanksgiving in San Francisco, we stopped to ask directions from a couple of Hispanic guys selling produce off the back of their truck. I bought a bag of mangos and avocados, big ripe ones, the best I’ve had in a while. I’m trying my hand at getting the pits to sprout here.