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How to Identify the Leaves on an Avocado Tree

By Lauren Wise ; Updated September 21, 2017
An avocado tree seeding
avocado image by Sergey Goruppa from Fotolia.com

Avocados are a favorite culinary and medicinal ingredient of many cultures, such as Spanish and American. The trees the fruit is harvested from can be difficult to recognize right away. Whether you're looking for more information on the tree or would like to identify one on your own, it is important to be able to identify the leaves of this tree first and foremost, if there is no fruit to help you. The leaves usually stay on the tree for two to three years.

Examine the growth pattern of the leaves. Avocado leaves all have their own stem and grow alternately, meaning that every other leaf grows in the opposite direction of each other.

Look underneath the tree, if it is a large mature tree, for piles of leaves. Even though the avocado leaves stay on the tree for a couple years, when they do fall off they are very slow to compost because of the high oil content. This means there will be collections of leaves around the base of the tree.

Look closely at the leaves. They should have an elliptical shape with smooth edges. The color is dark green, shiny and glossy, with pale green veins lightly running through the leaves.

Look at the leaf size. Each should be anywhere from 5 (for younger) to 10 (for more mature) inches in length.

Smell the leaves and also consider the variety of the avocado tree. For example, West Indian avocado leaves have no smell, while Mexican and Guatemalan varieties smell like anise when crushed.