Avocado is a very long-lived tree and normally lives around 400 years.
Those that my father planted over 40 years ago, today stand imposing, the trunk has a diameter of ½ meter and, if pruning had not been carried out to facilitate harvesting, they would be over 20 meters high.
But today I want to talk to you about trees that are much, much, much older. . . . practically prehistoric.
The first historical evidence of the avocado is due to the discovery in a cave, in the Mexican region of Puebla, of a core dated over 12,000 years ago.
Avocado had grown luxuriantly in Mexican forests as early as the Cenozoic and, according to scholars, was the favorite food of the Gonfoteri, animals that lived for millions of years, very similar to elephants but larger and with an elongated beak.
They were able to swallow the whole fruit, feed on the pulp and expel the stone, which could thus give rise to a new plant, ensuring the perpetuation of the species.The avocado at that time was very different from how we know it today: it had a stone of 12 cm and this helps us to imagine the size of these animals that could weigh up to 4 tons.
Survived the evolution, thanks also to this expedient, it developed throughout America, even in areas that at the time were much more temperate than today.
About 13,000 years ago, following the last ice age, there was a mass extinction all over the world during which large American mammals disappeared;
the tenacious avocado no, despite its proverbial sensitivity to cold. From that moment on, man took care of planting it and making it develop.
The Europeans made his acquaintance thanks to Christopher Columbus and the discovery of America. In 1526 the Spanish historian Fernandez de Oviedo, who lived at the court of Charles V, after a trip to America, he described it and praised it.
In the 1700s he reached the Philippines and Indonesia, where his cultivation is still very flourishing. The same did not happen in India where even today it is not successful.
Finally, in the 1900s it arrived in California and Florida where some growers imported it from Mexico: it developed very well but a frost 2 years later destroyed the whole plantation. Only one plant survived which was defined Fuerte (vigorous), capable of adapting to the Californian climate and its excursions and which gave rise to the variety we still cultivate today.