The introduction of West Indian avocados to south Florida

Gilberto Aleman, Noris Ledesma, Richard J Campbell

Abstract


The avocado (Persea americana Miller) is an important fruit crop for subsistence farmers and small- and large-scale producers throughout the tropics. In the lowlands of Tropical America, local selections of West Indian avocados dominate regional markets. These local West Indian avocado selections are often of superior fruit quality and adaptation to the climatic and edaphic conditions of the area. There has been little effort exerted into the systematic identification, collection and maintenance of these West Indian avocado genetic resources from Tropical America. West Indian avocado selections have promise for South Florida as cultivars for plantation and estate agriculture. As a genetic resource, these selections hold promise for the improvement of disease resistance, fruit quality and productivity of avocado throughout Tropical America and the world. Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden (FTBG) has initiated a 2-year project for the collection of West Indian avocados in lowland Costa Rica, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Guatemala and Panama. Working with local collaborators we have identified superior selections within localized areas of diversity, collected budwood and established a living collection at the Williams Grove Genetic Resource Center of FTBG in South Florida. Evaluation of fruit and tree characteristics began in 2005.

Keywords


persea americana; living collections; germplasm; plant exploration

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Proc. Fla. State Hort. Soc.     ISSN 0886-7283