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Synonyms

Machilus
Machilus
Nees (possible synonym) Mutisiopersea Kosterm. Tamala Raf.[1]

Persea
Persea
is a genus of about 150 species of evergreen trees belonging to the laurel family, Lauraceae.[2] The best-known member of the genus is the avocado, P. americana, widely cultivated in subtropical regions for its large, edible fruit.

Contents

1 Overview 2 Distribution and ecology

2.1 Classification 2.2 Formerly placed here

3 Etymology 4 Line notes 5 References 6 External links

Overview[edit] They are medium-size trees, 15–30 m (49.2–98.4 ft) tall at maturity. The leaves are simple, lanceolate to broad lanceolate, varying with species from 5–30 cm (1.97–11.81 in) long and 2–12 cm (0.79–4.72 in) broad, and arranged spirally or alternately on the stems. The flowers are in short panicles, with six small greenish-yellow perianth segments 3–6 mm (0.12–0.24 in) long, nine stamens and an ovary with a single embryo. The fruit is an oval or pear-shaped drupe, with a fleshy outer covering surrounding the single seed; size is very variable between the species, from 1–1.5 cm (0.39–0.59 inches) in e.g. P. borbonia and P. indica, up to 10–20 cm (3.94–7.87 inches) in P. americana. Distribution and ecology[edit]

Persea americana
Persea americana
flowers

The species of Persea
Persea
have a disjunct distribution, with about 70 Neotropic species, ranging from Brazil
Brazil
and Chile
Chile
in South America
South America
to Central America
Central America
and Mexico, the Caribbean, and the southeastern United States; a single species, P. indica, endemic to the Macaronesian islands, in the North West coast of Africa area, including Madeira
Madeira
and the Canary Islands; and 80 species inhabiting east and southeast Asia. None of the species are very tolerant of severe winter cold, with the hardiest, P. borbonia, P. ichangensis and P. lingue, surviving temperatures down to about −12 °C (10.4 °F); they also require continuously moist soil, and do not tolerate drought. A number of these species are found in forests that face threats of destruction or deforestation; for example, P. meyeniana in Central Chile. The family Lauraceae
Lauraceae
was part of the land flora of Gondwana, and many genera had migrated to South America
South America
via Antarctica
Antarctica
over ocean landbridges by the time of the Paleocene. From South America
South America
they spread over most of the continent. When the North American and South American tectonic plates joined in the late Neogene, volcanic mountain building created island chains which later formed the Mesoamerican landbridge. Pliocene elevation created new habitats for speciation. While some genera died out in increasingly xerophytic mainland Africa, starting with the freezing of Antarctica
Antarctica
about 20 million years ago and the formation of the Benguela current, others, which also reached South America
South America
and Mesoamerica, such as Beilschmiedia
Beilschmiedia
and Nectandra
Nectandra
are still surviving today in Africa in a number of species. The genus, however, died out in Africa, except for P. indica, which is, today, a threatened species that survives in the fog-shrouded mountains of the Canary Islands. Fossil evidence indicates that the genus originated in West Africa during the Paleocene, and spread to Asia, to South America, and to Europe
Europe
and thence to North America. It is thought that the gradual drying of Africa, west Asia, and the Mediterranean
Mediterranean
from the Oligocene to the Pleistocene, and the glaciation of Europe
Europe
during the Pleistocene, caused the extinction of the genus across these regions, resulting in the present distribution. Since this habitat is constantly threatened by encroaching agriculture, the laurel forest animal or vegetal species have already become rare in many of its former habitats and are threatened by further habitat loss. In Mesoamerica, Persea
Persea
proliferated into many new species, and the berries of some of them constitute a valuable food supply for quetzals, trogoniform birds that live in the montane rainforests of Mesoamerica. In particular, the resplendent quetzal's favorite fruits are berries of wild relatives of the avocado. Their differing maturing times in the cloudforest determine the migratory movements of the quetzals to differing elevation levels in the forests. With a gape width of 21 mm (0.83 in), the quetzal swallows the small berry (aquacatillo) whole, which he catches while flying through the lower canopy of the tree, and then regurgitates the seed within 100 meters (328 ft) from the tree. Wheelright in 1983 observed that parent quetzals take far less time intervals to deliver fruits to the young brood than insects or lizards, reflecting the ease of procuring fruits, as opposed to capturing animal prey. Since the young are fed exclusively berries in the first 2 weeks after hatching, these berries must be of high nutritional value. Usually only the total percentage of water, sugar, nitrogen, crude fats and carbohydrates are reported by ornithologists.[3] Persea
Persea
species are also used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera
Lepidoptera
species including giant leopard moth, Coleophora octagonella (which feeds exclusively on P. carolinensis) and Hypercompe indecisa.

Persea macrantha
Persea macrantha
leaves

Classification[edit]

The avocado fruit, Persea
Persea
americana

The genus Persea
Persea
is treated in three subgenera. The Asian subgenus Machilus
Machilus
is treated in a separate genus Machilus
Machilus
by many authors, including in the Flora of China, while graft-incompatibility between subgenus Persea
Persea
and subgenus Eriodaphne suggests that these too may be better treated as distinct genera, in fact Kostermans (1993) founded the genus Mutisiopersea for these. Another closely related genus, Beilschmiedia, is also sometimes included in Persea.

Subgenus Persea
Persea
— Central America. Two species.

Persea americana
Persea americana
Mill. – Avocado

Persea americana
Persea americana
var. drymifolia (Schltdl. & Cham.) S.F.Blake Persea americana
Persea americana
var. floccosa (Mez) Scora Persea americana
Persea americana
var. guatemalensis (L.O.Williams) Scora Persea americana
Persea americana
var. nubigena (L.O.Williams) L.E.Kopp Persea americana
Persea americana
var. steyermarkii (C.K.Allen) Scora

Persea schiedeana
Persea schiedeana
Nees – Coyo

Subgenus Eriodaphne (Mutisiopersea) — The Americas, Macaronesia. About 70 species, including

Persea
Persea
alpigena Persea brevipetiolata van der Werff from Mexico Persea borbonia
Persea borbonia
(L.) Spreng. – Redbay Persea caerulea (Ruiz & Pav.) Mez Persea
Persea
cinerascens Persea
Persea
donnell-smithii Mez Persea indica
Persea indica
(L.) Spreng. – Viñátigo (possibly better treated in a fourth subgenus of its own) Persea lingue
Persea lingue
(Ruiz & Pav.) Nees – Lingue Persea
Persea
longipes (Schltdl.) Meisn. Persea meyeniana Nees Persea palustris (Raf.) Sarg. – Swampbay Persea
Persea
skutchii

Subgenus Machilus
Machilus
— Asia. About 80 species, including

Persea
Persea
edulis Persea
Persea
ichangensis Persea
Persea
japonica (Siebold & Zucc.) Kosterm. Persea
Persea
kobu Persea
Persea
macrantha Persea
Persea
nanmu Oliv. Persea
Persea
thunbergii (Siebold & Zucc.) Kosterm. Persea
Persea
yunnanensis[4]

Formerly placed here[edit]

Cinnamodendron cinnamomifolium (Kunth) Kosterm. (as P. cinnamomifolia Kunth or P. mexicana (Meisn.) Hemsl.) Laurus azorica
Laurus azorica
(Seub.) Franco (as P. azorica Seub.)[4]

Etymology[edit] Philip Miller derived Persea
Persea
from the Greek name Περσέα. It was applied by Theophrastus
Theophrastus
and Hippocrates
Hippocrates
to an uncertain Egyptian tree, possibly Cordia myxa
Cordia myxa
or a Mimusops
Mimusops
species.[5] Line notes[edit]

^ a b "Genus: Persea
Persea
Mill". Germplasm Resources Information Network. United States Department of Agriculture. 2007-10-05. Retrieved 2011-02-05.  ^ André Joseph Guillaume Henri Kostermans. 1993 ^ http://www.avocadosource.com/CAS_Yearbooks/CAS_83_1999/CAS_1999_PG_163-171.pdf ^ a b "GRIN Species
Species
Records of Persea". Germplasm Resources Information Network. United States Department of Agriculture. Retrieved 2011-02-05. [permanent dead link] ^ Quattrocchi, Umberto (2000). CRC World Dictionary of Plant
Plant
Names. 3 M-Q. CRC Press. p. 2015. ISBN 978-0-8493-2677-6. 

References[edit]

André Joseph Guillaume Henri Kostermans. 1993. Mutisiopersea Kostermans, a new genus in Lauraceae. Rheedea 3: 132–135. C. Michael Hogan. 2008. Chilean Wine Palm: Jubaea chilensis, GlobalTwitcher.com, ed. Nicklas Stromberg Lucille E. Kopp. 1966. "A taxonomic revision of the genus Persea
Persea
in the Western Hemisphere (Persea-Lauracese)" Memoirs of the New York Botanical Garden 14(1): pp. 1–117

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Persea.

Wikispecies
Wikispecies
has information related to Persea

Avocado
Avocado
source Extensive information on the Avocado
Avocado
and the genus generally, particularly the subgenera Persea
Persea
and Eriodaphne Flora of North America: Persea Flora of China: Machilus
Machilus
Full list of species in Machilus
Machilus
in China

Taxon identifiers

Wd: Q132039 APDB: 193572 EoL: 37256 EPPO: 1PEBG FNA: 124627 FoC: 124627 Fossilworks: 54628 GBIF: 3034041 GRIN: 9138 IPNI: 21476-1 ITIS: 18148 NCBI: 3434 PLANTS: PERSE Tropic

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