An amazing collection of avocado drawings and watercolor paintings from the US Department of Agriculture Pomological watercolor collection.
There are over 7500 antique fruit watercolors and drawings in the Pomological collection. The paintings were completed between the years 1886 and 1942, by around five dozen artists.
Amazingly over half of the illustrations are of apples alone. This curated collection just focuses on the avocado illustrations. There are over 100 drawings and paintings of avocados but I will just show a selection of the best ones.
Facts about Avocados
Avocados are botanically a large berry containing a single large seed. Personally, we are a big fan of avocados in my household and get through about 10 a week.
Over a third of the world’s Avocado crop is grown in Mexico there are hundreds of varieties of Avocados but only a fraction of these are grown commercially.
Like the banana, the avocado is a climacteric fruit, which matures on the tree, but ripens off the tree. Allowing farmers to use the trees as storage devices for up to 7 months after they reach full maturity. That is why avocados always seem to be in season.
Avocados have a significantly higher fat content than most other fruit. That fat is mostly monounsaturated fat. As such the fruit serves as an important staple in the diet of consumers who have limited access to other fatty food.
As well as being a delicious and healthy food, I have found other uses for avocados. I keep the avocado seed (pit) to make buttons with and have used them in the past as a natural dye. The avocado pits, when used as a dye, give a lovely dusty pink color.
Did you know you can grow an indoor plant from the pit of an avocado fruit? To do this stab an avocado pit with 3 or four toothpicks about a third from the flat end. Then balance the pit over a glass of tepid water.
After about four to six weeks the pit should develop roots and sprout. Once the stem as grown a couple of inches it can then be potted in soil. The plant can then grow into quite a large indoor plant. The plant won’t fruit unless it is helped with pollination.
The Avocado Drawings, watercolors and prints
Click on the title above the avocado drawings you want to download and print. A larger resolution print of the avocado will open as a new tab in your browser.
If you right-click on this image with your mouse the option to save the image to your device should appear.
A watercolor print of an uncut the Lyon variety of avocados (scientific name: Persea), with this specimen originating in South Pasadena, Los Angeles County, California.
The painting is by Mary Daisy Arnold and dates from 1917. She worked for the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for over thirty-five years. Mary was one of the three most prolific artists for the Pomological Watercolor Collection.
This is the cross-sectional painting of the Lyon avocado painted above my Mary Daisy Arnold.
The Lyon Variety of Avocados is a Central American avocado. It is a slow-growing plant and difficult to propagate but has a high quality, dark glossy green fruit. This variety will endure temperatures of 30 degrees Fahrenheit.
McDonald variety of avocados, with this specimen originating in Florida and painted by Amanda Almira Newton in 1917. The cross-section of this variety it below.
Amanda Newton was the second most prolific painter contributing to a total of a sixth of all the paintings in the Pomological collection. Interestingly, she was the granddaughter of Isaac Newton. (I wonder if an avocado hit her on the head!)
A cross-section drawing of the above variety of avocado.
Another of Mary Daisy Arnold’s avocado drawings this one from 1914 and titled Mexican type avocado. This variety looks suspiciously like the variety we get from the local market.
A cross-section of the avocado watercolor above.
Another one of Amanda Newtons avocado drawings, the Purple Wester variety from 1908.
Sambert variety of avocados, with this specimen originating in Hollywood. Avocado watercolor painting by Royal Charles Steadman 1916.
Another one of Royal Charles Steadman’s avocado watercolors showing a whole and half fruit side by side.
Early variety of avocados painting by Deborah Griscome Passmore 1906. Deborah was the most prolific of all the painters for the Pomological collection, painting over one-fifth of all the fruit watercolors.
Avocado print of the Perfecto variety painted in 1937.
Watercolor of the Sharpless avocado by Amanda Newton 1917.
A cross-section of the avocado print above.
Painting by Amanda Newton 1916.
Avocado print by Royal Charles Steadman 1916.
A sketch of the Perfecto Avocado by Royal Charles Steadman.
I hope you enjoyed these beautiful vintage watercolor drawings of avocados. I think they would look fabulous framed as a set on a kitchen or dining room gallery wall.