The avocado (Persea americana), called aguacate or palta by the inhabitants of the Americas, is a tree fruit with smooth, green pulp that has a salty–sweet flavor. When the Spanish arrived this fruit was found growing virtually throughout the Americas, but the Europeans baptized it the “pear of the Indies” for its likeness to Spanish pears. The three original species of this fruit were from Mexico, Guatemala and the Antilles. In central Mexico there is evidence of wild avocadoes being consumed more than 5000 years ago, but the archeological record indicates that human groups began to grow this fruit only recently, with evidence of its cultivation from Peru around 3000 BC and Mexico around500 BC. The word ‘aguacate’ is derived from ahuácatl, a Náhuatl term that means testicles, and the term ahuacamolli (guacamole) refers to avocado soup or salsa. The term ‘palta’, on the other hand, is a Quechua word, and it is thought that the Inka may have named the fruit after the Inka-ruled Palta people of Ecuador, who lived in a region where this fruit was commonly grown and consumed.