Avocados: a luscious and delicious superfood sometimes called the "alligator pear". Often confused for a vegetable, avocados are actually a fruit (technically a berry) high in monounsaturated fats, which helps to lower LDL cholesterol. Though the bumpy-skinned deep purple/dark green Hass avocado is the most popular variety, avocados come in many different shapes, sizes, textures, and colors; sometimes changing properties once they ripen. Avocados are versatile, and can be added to salads and sandwiches, or made into avocado spreads, and of course, guac. Indigenous to Central America and the Caribbean, all avocados can be traced back to either Mexican, Guatemalan, or West Indian genetic ancestors.

The avocado plant is especially interesting because it actually switches genders throughout the day as part of self-pollination, a process known as dichogamy. Avocado types can be divided according to what time of day they shed pollen (male) or receive pollen (female). A-type flowers will open as female in the morning and become male in the afternoon. B-type avocado flowers are male in the morning and open to pollen as female in the afternoon.

whole and halved avocados next to dish of guacamole

A-type Cultivars

Choquette

Shape: Oval
Skin color: Dark green
Originating in South Florida, the Choquette avocado is a mix of West Indian and Guatemalan types. Choquette avocados have smooth and glossy skin, and are generally quite large with a high water content. The flesh is silky and watery, with a very mild taste. When cut, a runny juice is commonly observed to seep from the fruit.

Gwen

Shape: Pear/oval
Skin color: Deep green
Similar in taste and texture to the popular Hass avocados, the Gwen is a larger avocado with a creamy, gold-green, flavorful flesh. The skin is pebbly, thick and easy to peel. Gwen avocados are of the Guatemalan variety and were first developed and patented in California.

bunch of gwen avocados for sale

Gwen avocados for sale. Ana Iacob Photography/Shutterstock

Hass

Shape: Pear/oval
Skin color: Purplish Black
With a velvety texture and rich and nutty flavor, the Hass avocado is one of the most popular avocados out there - making up 95% of California's total avocado crops. The Hass has a thick, bumpy, easy to peel skin which turns from green to dark purple as it ripens. Hass avocados have pale green flesh that is intensely flavorful and perfect for making guacamole. Originating in California of the Guatemalan family, Hass avocados have a small to medium seed size.

hass avocados cut in half exposing seed

Hass avocados cut in half. Abramova Elena/Shutterstock

Lula

Shape: Pear
Skin color: Green
Of Guatemalan and West Indian heritage, Lula avocados hail from South Florida. The Lula has a generally smooth, dark, glossy skin, and a large seed. There are both pros and cons for producers of the Lula avocado. On one hand, the Lula grows quickly and reliably and is resistant to cold temperatures, but on the other, Lula avocados are unfortunately susceptible to the scab fungus.

Maluma

Shape: Pear
Skin color: Dark purple
A relatively new avocado, the Maluma was discovered in South Africa in the 1990s. The Maluma avocado is a large fruit with pebbly and rough skin, and an asymmetrically-positioned stem. Because the Maluma was discovered rather than created via a breeding program, the exact genetic parentage of the avocado is unknown. Maluma trees grow slowly but produce high yields.

avocados grouped together in a bowl

Maluma avocados in a bowl. LilyTiger/Shutterstock

Mexicola

Shape: Pear/oval
Skin Color: Black
Of Mexican origin, the Mexicola avocado is a smaller fruit with very thin skin that is smooth and shiny. Their seeds are proportionally large, but the flesh is rubbery, juicy, and more sweet. Because of the paper-thin skin, these avocados are difficult to peel, though the skin is uniquely edible. Many find that Mexicola avocados and their leaves have a distinct anise-like flavor.

three and a half avocados in a bowl

Mexicola avocado. Barna Tanko/Shutterstock

Pinkerton

Shape: Long/oval
Skin Color: Green
Pinkerton avocados have a longer appearance, a pale green flesh, and a small seed. The skin is rough, thick, and great for peeling while the flesh is creamy, flavorful, nutty, and high in oil content. The Pinkerton avocado is of the Guatemalan family and resistant to cold and frost.

Reed

Shape: Round
Skin color: Deep green
A genetically Guatemalan avocado, the Reed is one of the larger varieties, approximately the size of a softball. The seed is a medium size and the skin has a medium thickness with a glossy, smooth texture. Reed avocados have a golden flesh with a delicate, nutty flavor and a creamy texture.

pile of avocados in a basket

Reed avocados in a basket. photo one/Shutterstock

B-type Cultivars

Bacon

Shape: Oval
Skin color: Green
Bacon avocados are named after the farmer who developed them, James Bacon, in 1951. They're a medium-sized variety and have a freckled, green skin with an unusually bright yellow flesh that tastes light and delicate. The seed within bacon avocados is large, and the oil content of the flesh is high.

green avocados hanging from branches

Bacon avocados on the branch. Protasov AN/Shutterstock

Brogden (or Brogdon)

Shape: Pear
Skin color: Deep purple
Especially good for growing in cold temperatures, Brogden avocados have a rich and nutty flavor, similar to Hass avocados. The Brogden has thin skin that is very difficult to peel, and for this reason is not commercially popular. Brogden avocados are a complex hybrid of Mexican and West Indian avocado varieties.

Ettinger

Shape: Pear
Skin color: Bright green
Grown predominately in Israel, Ettinger avocados are a cross between Mexican and Guatemalan genetic families. The skin on these avocados is thin and smooth, and does not peel easily. Ettinger avocados have a mild flavor and low oil content. The flesh is a pale green shade, and the avocado seed within is relatively large.

avocados in a pile for sale

Ettinger avocados for sale. Unsplash / Nur Afni Setiyaningrum

Fuerte

Shape: Pear
Skin color: Green
Spanish for "strong", Fuerte avocados are a Mexican/Guatemalan cross, originating in Mexico. The Fuerte avocado has a leathery skin of medium thickness that easily peels, and a dense, slightly oily texture featuring notes of hazelnut. A more medium-sized avocado, it contains a relatively large seed.

four whole Fuerte avocados on wooden tables

Whole Fuerte avocados. Ildi Papp/Shutterstock

Monroe

Shape: Oval
Skin color: Green
Averaging over 2 pounds in weight, this avocado is one of the larger types. Monroe avocados are of Guatemalan and West Indian parentage, and are known for being cold resistant. The skin of the Monroe is glossy and slightly rough, while the flesh is notably less watery than other varieties.

Sharwil

Shape: Pear
Skin color: Green
The Sharwil is a Guatemalan-type avocado of Australian origin, closely resembling the Fuerte (though the Sharwil avocado is more ovular). It is a medium size with rough green skin and a yellowy-green flesh. Sharwil avocados have a dense, nutty flavor and very high oil content. The Sharwil tree is small, but produces avocados consistently - though it is a susceptible plant to frost. The texture of these avocados is firmer if harvested near the beginning of the season, and more lush when harvested toward the season's end.

one whole avocado next to half an avocado

Sharwil avocado whole and halved. Anna Kucherova/Shutterstock

Zutano

Shape: Pear
Skin color: Yellow-green
This avocado of the Mexican family is shiny and waxy, and has a thin skin that's moderately difficult to peel. Zutano avocados have a medium-sized seed, and pale green flesh with a light flavor. It is low in oil but high in water, which makes for a mild and watery flavor that's not as rich and creamy as more popular avocado varieties.

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