Shrubs to medium-sized trees , evergreen. Bark reddish brown, thin, fissured. Leaves alternate, aromatic. Leaf blade pinnately veined; surfaces pubescent, especially abaxially, becoming glabrescent with age; domatia absent. Inflorescence appearing when mature leaves are present, axillary, flowers in pedunculate, compound cymes. Flowers bisexual; tepals persistent, yellowish, pubescent, outer tepals slightly shorter than inner; stamens 9, anthers 4-locular, 4-valved, anthers of outer 6 stamens introrse, anthers of inner 3 latrorse; staminodes 3, sagittate; ovary nearly globose. Drupe dark blue to black, nearly globose, borne on pedicel with tepals persistent at base; cupule absent. x = 12. Persea americana Miller, the avocado of commerce, with large, fleshy fruits and deciduous tepals, is widely grown in California and Florida. It may persist after cultivation. Pubescence type and density are the most reliable characteristics in identifying species and are best seen on young leaves and branches.
Fls perfect; inner series of tepals evidently larger than the outer; fertile stamens 9, in 3 series, the filaments of the inner series each with a pair of basilateral glands; fourth series of stamens represented by staminodes; fr subtended by the persistent, somewhat accrescent tepals; evergreen trees or tall shrubs. 200, mainly trop.
Gleason, Henry A. & Cronquist, Arthur J. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. lxxv + 910 pp.