By Lauren Panoff, MPH, RD
Avocados are pear-shaped fruits that grow on tropical evergreen trees.
They generally have a rough, green outer skin, buttery flesh, and large seed in the middle.
Coming in many shapes, sizes, colors, and textures, their flavor is often described as mildly nutty and creamy.
Though you may only be familiar with a few types of avocado, hundreds of varieties are cultivated around the world — with 56 growing in Florida alone. Many are hybrids, meaning that they're the result of two varieties being bred together to create a new one (1).
This article reviews 15 common types of avocado, including their benefits and differences.
Health Benefits of Avocados
Avocados are highly nutritious. They're great sources of folate, potassium, and healthy fats, as well as vitamins K, C, and E. They also contain small amounts of B vitamins and minerals, such as copper, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, iron, and zinc (2, 3Trusted Source).
The monounsaturated fats in avocados — most of which are oleic acid — are good for your heart, fight inflammation, and may have anticancer properties. Eating avocados can also help you better absorb other fat-soluble nutrients (1, 4Trusted Source, 5Trusted Source, 6Trusted Source).
Furthermore, avocados are full of fiber, an important nutrient lacking in most Western diets. Some studies have found that people who eat avocados tend to weigh less, perhaps due to the fruit's high content of fiber and healthy fat, as well as its low glycemic index (3Trusted Source, 7Trusted Source, 8Trusted Source).
Avocados also contain antioxidants that are good for your eyes and brain, such as lutein and zeaxanthin. These antioxidants may lower your risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), cataracts, and neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's (9Trusted Source, 10Trusted Source, 11Trusted Source).
What's more, research suggests that people who regularly eat avocados are healthier and have a lower risk of metabolic syndrome. However, this may be because many people who enjoy this fruit also appear to eat many other healthy foods (12Trusted Source).
Avocados are very nutritious fruits that offer many vitamins, minerals, unsaturated fats, fiber, and antioxidants that may help prevent disease and improve your health.
Different Types of Avocados
While you may only see a few types of avocado at your local grocery store, hundreds of varieties grow around the world. Though many hybrids exist, all avocados can be traced to either Guatemalan, Mexican, or West Indian origin (1, 13Trusted Source, 14Trusted Source).
The fruits are categorized as either A-type or B-type cultivars. The difference lies in the opening times and pollination behaviors of the avocado tree flowers. The type of cultivar has little effect on consumers and matters more to those who grow avocados.
Avocados are partially self-pollinating through a process called dichogamy. A-type flowers bloom as females in the morning and shed pollen as males in the afternoon. Oppositely, B-type flowers receive pollen in the afternoon and shed it in the morning (15).
Many varieties share similar features, with slight differences in size, coloring, flavor, shape, and peak growing season.
In the United States, avocados from California (Hass variety) are smaller with a pebbly skin, while those from Florida are larger and have a smoother skin (16).
Here are 15 of the most common types of avocado.
Though there are many more, below are some of the better-known A-type-cultivar avocados:
1. Choquette. The Choquette has smooth, glossy skin with watery flesh that often leaks when the fruit is cut. This variety comes from South Florida.
2. Lula. The Lula peaks during the summertime, has fewer natural oils, and contains more water than many other varieties. It's resistant to cold but highly susceptible to fungi. The Lula grows to weigh around 1 pound (450 grams).
3. Hass. The Hass is the most popular variety. It's available all year round and has a buttery, nutty flavor and spherical shape. Its skin turns from a bold green to a dark purplish-black as it ripens.
4. Reed. The Reed is only available during the summer months. It has a lighter, more subtle flavor and is about the size of a softball. As the Reed ripens, its skin remains the same green color, unlike other types.
5. Pinkerton. The Pinkerton has an oblong shape, rough skin that is easy to peel, and small seed inside of a creamy flesh. This type grows to 0.5–1.5 pounds (225–680 grams).
6. Gwen. The Gwen is similar to the Hass avocado in taste and appearance. This is a larger Guatemalan variety with a thick, dark-green skin that is easy to remove.
7. Maluma. The Maluma is a dark-purple avocado that was discovered in the 1990s in South Africa. This variety grows slowly, but the trees bear a lot of fruit.
Some of the B-type-cultivar avocados include:
1. Ettinger. The Ettinger is most often grown in Israel and has a bright green skin, large seed, and mild flavor.
2. Sharwil. The Sharwil is an Australian avocado with a rough, green peel and yellow flesh. It's very oily with a bold flavor and is susceptible to frost.
3. Zutano. The Zutano is covered in a lighter, yellow-green skin and has a mild taste that's unlike many other, more buttery varieties. It typically grows to around 0.5–1 pound (225–450 grams).
4. Brogden. The Brogden avocado is a dark-purple hybrid of West Indian and Mexican varieties. Though it's very resistant to the cold, it's hard to peel and thus not a popular commercial variety.
5. Fuerte. The Fuerte is distinctly pear-shaped and available for eight months of the year. Its name means "strong" in Spanish, and it has an oily texture similar to that of a hazelnut.
6. Cleopatra. The Cleopatra is a small dwarf avocado that is relatively new to the consumer market.
7. Bacon. The Bacon has a lighter taste than other varieties. Its light-brown skin is easy to peel.
8. Monroe. The Monroe is a large avocado that can weigh over 2 pounds (910 grams). It's a firmer variety and has less watery flesh.
Hundreds of avocado varieties grow around the world, including many hybrids. Avocados are generally categorized as A-type or B-type cultivars, based on their pollination and flowering behaviors.
How to Choose the Healthiest Avocado
In regards to nutrition, avocados are generally very similar, regardless of the type. All avocados are calorically dense and high in healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals.
Avocados from Florida are sometimes advertised as "lite" due to their lower fat content compared with the popular Hass avocado, but the overall nutritional difference between the two is small.
Overall, avocados are very nutritious, and all types offer similar health benefits.
Most avocados only differ slightly in their nutritional composition, as they're all calorically dense and high in healthy fats and various vitamins and minerals.
The Bottom Line
Avocados are highly nutritious fruits that offer many benefits.
They're rich in vitamins and minerals, as well as antioxidants, unsaturated fats, and fiber, which may help lower your risk of various chronic diseases and improve your health.
Though only one or two varieties are best known, hundreds of types exist around the world, primarily differing in size, color, shape, texture, and flavor.
The most popular and widely available type of avocado is the Hass. However, if you come across another variety, it would likely have a similar nutritional composition.
In any case, avocados make a great addition to a healthy, balanced diet.
Reposted with permission from our media associate Healthline.
- 7 Devastating Photos of Wildfires in California, Oregon and ... ›
- California Wildfires Destroy Condor Sanctuary, at Least 4 Birds Still ... ›
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Mark Hertsgaard
What follows are not candidate endorsements. Rather, this nonpartisan guide aims to inform voters' choices, help journalists decide what races to follow, and explore what the 2020 elections could portend for climate action in the United States in 2021 and beyond.
Will the White House Turn Green?<p>Whether the White House changes hands is the most important climate question of the 2020 elections. President Donald Trump rejects climate science, is withdrawing the United States from the Paris Agreement, and has accelerated fossil fuel development. His climate policy seems to be, as he tweeted in January when rejecting a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers proposal to protect New York City from storm surges, "Get your mops and buckets ready."</p><p>Joe Biden, who started the 2020 campaign with a climate position so weak that activists gave it an "F," called Trump a "climate arsonist" during California's recent wildfires. Biden backs a $2 trillion plan to create millions of jobs while slashing emissions—a Green New Deal in all but name. Equally striking, his running mate, California Senator Kamala Harris, has endorsed phasing out fossil fuel production—a politically explosive scientific imperative.</p><p>The race will be decided in a handful of battleground states, five of which already face grave climate dangers: Florida (hurricanes and sea-level rise), North Carolina (ditto), Texas (storms and drought), Michigan (floods), and Arizona (heat waves and drought). <a href="https://climatecommunication.yale.edu/visualizations-data/ycom-us/" target="_blank">Public concern is rising</a> in these states, but will that concern translate into votes?</p>
Will Democrats Flip the Senate, and by Enough to Pass a Green New Deal?<p>With Democrats all but certain to maintain their majority in the U.S. House of Representatives, the Senate will determine whether a potential Biden administration can actually deliver climate progress. Democrats need to pick up three seats to flip the Senate if Biden wins, four if he doesn't. But since aggressive climate policy is shunned by some Democrats, notably Joe Manchin of coal-dependent West Virginia, Democrats probably need to gain five or six Senate seats to pass a Green New Deal.</p><p>Environmentalists, including the League of Conservation Voters, are targeting six Republicans who polls suggest are vulnerable.</p><ul><li>Steve Daines of Montana, who denies climate science</li><li>Martha McSally of Arizona</li><li>Thom Tillis of North Carolina</li><li>Susan Collins of Maine</li><li>Joni Ernst of Iowa (bankrolled by Charles Koch)</li><li>John James of Michigan (also a Koch beneficiary)</li></ul><p>Republican Senators are even at risk in conservative Kansas and Alaska. In both states, the Democratic candidates are physicians—not a bad credential amid a pandemic—who support climate action. In Kansas, Barbara Bollier faces an incumbent funded by Charles Koch. In Alaska, Al Gross urges a transition away from oil, though his openness to limited drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Preserve dims his appeal to green groups. He faces incumbent Republican Dan Sullivan, who receives an 8 percent lifetime voting record from the League of Conservation Voters.</p>
Will Local and State Races Advance Climate Progress?<h4>THE CLIMATE HAWKS</h4><p>Under Democratic and Republican leadership alike, Washington has long been a graveyard for strong climate action. But governors can boost or block renewable energy; the Vermont and New Hampshire races are worth watching. Attorneys general can sue fossil fuel companies for lying about climate change; climate hawks are running for the top law enforcement seats in Montana and North Carolina. State legislatures can accelerate or delay climate progress, as the new Democratic majorities in Virginia have shown. Here, races to watch include Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Colorado.</p><h4>THE CLIMATE POLICY MAKERS</h4><p>Perhaps the most powerful, and most overlooked, climate policy makers are public utility commissions. They control whether pipelines and other energy infrastructure gets built; they regulate whether electric utilities expand solar and energy efficiency or stick with the carbon-heavy status quo. Regulatory capture and outright corruption are not uncommon.</p><p>A prime example is Arizona, where a former two-term commissioner known as the godfather of solar in the state is seeking a comeback. Bill Mundell argues that since Arizona law permits utilities to contribute to commissioners' electoral campaigns, the companies can buy their own regulators. Which may explain why super-sunny Arizona has so little installed solar capacity.</p><p>In South Dakota, Remi Bald Eagle, a Native American U.S. Army veteran, seeks a seat on the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission, which rules on the Standing Rock oil pipeline. And in what <em>HuffPost</em> called "the most important environmental race in the country," Democrat Chrysta Castaneda, who favors phasing out oil production, is running for the Texas Railroad Commission, which despite its name decides what oil, gas, and electric companies in America's leading petro-state can build.</p>
Will the Influencers Usher in a Green New Era?<h4>THE UNCOUNTED</h4><p>The story that goes largely under-reported in every U.S. election is how few Americans vote. In 2016, some 90 million, <a href="https://www.pewresearch.org/politics/2018/08/09/an-examination-of-the-2016-electorate-based-on-validated-voters/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">roughly four out of every 10 eligible voters</a>, did not cast a ballot. Attorney Nathaniel Stinnett claims that 10 million of these nonvoters nevertheless identify as environmentalists: They support green policies, even donate to activist groups; they just don't vote. Stinnett's <a href="https://www.environmentalvoter.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Environmental Voter Project</a> works to awaken this sleeping giant.</p><h4>THE SUNRISE MOVEMENT</h4><p>Meanwhile, the young climate activists of the <a href="http://www.sunrisemovement.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Sunrise Movement</a> are already winning elections with an unabashedly Green New Deal message. More than any other group, Sunrise pushed the Green New Deal into the national political conversation, helping Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Ed Markey draft the eponymous congressional resolution. In 2020, Sunrise has helped Green New Deal champions defeat centrists in Democratic primaries, with Markey dealing Representative Joe Kennedy Jr. the first defeat a Kennedy has ever suffered in a Massachusetts election. But can Sunrise also be successful against Republicans in the general elections this fall?</p><h4>THE STARPOWER</h4><p>And an intriguing wild card: celebrity firepower, grassroots activism, and big-bucks marketing have converged behind a campaign to get Latina mothers to vote climate in 2020. Latinos have long been the U.S. demographic most concerned about climate change. Now, <a href="https://votelikeamadre.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Vote Like A Madre</a> aims to get 5 million Latina mothers in Florida, Texas, and Arizona to the polls. Jennifer Lopez, Salma Hayak, and Lin-Manuel Miranda are urging mothers to make a "pinky promise" to vote for their kids' climate future in November. Turning out even a quarter of those 5 million voters, though no easy task, could swing the results in three states Trump must win to remain president, which brings us back to the first category, "Will the White House Turn Green?"</p>
- Climate Activists Prepare for November Election - EcoWatch ›
- The Next Election Is About the Next 10,000 Years - EcoWatch ›
- Latino Voters Worried About Climate Change Could Swing 2020 ... ›
- Climate Crisis Could Change Permafrost Soil Microbes, With ... ›
- Zombie Fires Could Be Awakening in the Arctic - EcoWatch ›
- The Arctic Is on Fire and Warming Twice as Fast as the Rest of the ... ›
By Tony Carnie
South Africa is home to around 1,300 of the world's roughly 7,100 remaining cheetahs. It's also the only country in the world with significant cheetah population growth, thanks largely to a nongovernmental conservation project that depends on careful and intensive human management of small, fenced-in cheetah populations. Because most of the reserves are privately funded and properly fenced, the animals benefit from higher levels of security than in the increasingly thinly funded state reserves.
Vincent van der Merwe at a cheetah translocation. Endangered Wildlife Trust
Under Pressure<p>Cheetah populations elsewhere in Southern Africa have not prospered over the past 50 years. In Zimbabwe, cheetah numbers have crashed from 1,500 in 1975, to just 170 today. Botswana's cheetah population has held steady at around 1,500 over the same period, but illegal capture for captive breeding and conflicts with farmers and the growing human population are increasing. In Namibia, there were an estimated 3,000 cheetah in in 1975; roughly 1,400 remain today.</p><p>In contrast, South Africa's cheetah numbers have grown from about 500 in 1975 to nearly 1,300 today. Van der Merwe, who is also a Ph.D. student at the University of Cape Town's Institute for Communities and Wildlife in Africa (iCWild), says he's confident that South Africa will soon overtake Namibia and Botswana, largely because the majority of South African cheetahs are protected and managed behind fences, whereas most of the animals in the neighboring countries remain more vulnerable on mainly unfenced lands.</p><p>Wildlife researchers Florian Weise and colleagues have reported that private stock owners in Namibia still trap cheetahs mainly for translocation, but there are few public or private reserves large enough to contain them. Weise says that conservation efforts need to focus on improving tolerance toward cheetahs in commercial livestock and game farming areas to reduce indiscriminate trapping.</p><p>Van der Merwe says fences can be both a blessing and a curse. While these barriers prevent cheetahs and other wild animals from migrating naturally to breed and feed, they also protect cheetahs from the growing tide of threats from humanity and agriculture.</p><p>To simulate natural dispersion patterns that guard against inbreeding, the trust helps landowners swap their animals with other cheetah reserves elsewhere in the country. The South African metapopulation project has been so successful in boosting numbers that the trust is having to look beyond national boundaries to secure new translocation areas in Malawi, Zambia and Mozambique.</p><p>Cheetah translocations have been going on in South Africa since the mid-1960s, when the first unsuccessful attempts were made to move scores of these animals from Namibia. These relocations were mostly unsuccessful.</p>
Charli de Vos uses a VHF antenna to locate cheetahs in Phinda Game Reserve. Tony Carnie for Mongabay
Swinging for the Fences<p>But other wildlife conservation leaders have a different perspective on cheetah conservation strategy.</p><p>Gus Mills, a senior carnivore researcher retired in 2006 from SANParks, the agency that manages South Africa's national parks, after a career of more than 30 years in Kalahari and Kruger national parks. He says the focus should be on quality of living spaces rather than the quantity of cheetahs.</p><p>Mills, who was the founder of the Endangered Wildlife Trust's Carnivore Conservation Group in 1995, and who also spent six years after retirement studying cheetahs in the Kalahari, says it's more important to properly protect and, where possible, expand the size of existing protected areas.</p><p>He also advocates a triage approach to cheetah conservation, in which scarce funds and resources are focused on protecting cheetahs in formally protected areas, rather than diluting scarce resources in an attempt to try and save every single remaining cheetah population.</p><p>"People have an obsession with numbers. But I believe that it is more important to protect large landscape and habitats properly," Mills said.</p><p>He suggests that cheetahs enclosed within small reserves live in artificial conditions: "It's almost like glorified farming."</p><p>"In the long run we have to focus on consolidating formally protected areas," he added. "Africa's human population will double by 2050, so cheetah populations in unfenced areas will become unsustainable if they are eating people's livestock."</p>
Scientists are on the brink of scaling up an enzyme that devours plastic. In the latest breakthrough, the enzyme degraded plastic bottles six times faster than previous research achieved, as The Guardian reported.
- Mutant Enzyme Recycles Plastic in Hours, Could Revolutionize ... ›
- Scientists Find Bacteria That Eats Plastic - EcoWatch ›
- Plastics: The History of an Ecological Crisis - EcoWatch ›
- Scientists Accidentally Develop 'Mutant' Enzyme That Eats Plastic ... ›