Avocados are tropical trees most likely indigenous to parts of Mexico. They need plenty of sunlight and water to grow and thrive. Yet, somehow, one avocado tree just northeast of Tucson, Arizona, has survived for over a century in the harsh desert climate.
The Aravaipa 100-Year-Old Avocado Tree
The Aravaipa Avocado tree is also known as the “unicorn of the desert.” Originating in the Aravaipa Canyon in Arizona, this avo is the only tree that grows well in the desert of the southwest. This single, 100-year-old avocado tree has flourished in the desert for so long, but how?
By some grace of mother nature, the “mother tree,” as this 100-year-old avocado is known, has survived in the Arizona desert. No one is entirely sure where the tree came from or how it got there. The tree is located just northeast of Tuscon, Arizona, on a private ranch. The tree has been there since at least 1895 because that is how long the land has been in the same family.
Why Can’t Avocados Grow in Arizona?
Usually, avo trees require incredible amounts of water, which the desert doesn’t have much of. However, the Aravaipa Canyon isn’t quite as desert as some other areas in Arizona; there are areas with permanent water not too far from the mother tree.
Where Did The Tree Come From?
The theory is that during the turn of the century, homesteaders planted citrus trees in orchards in the canyon. Since there is only one fruit tree, the running theory is that an orchard worker ate an avocado and dropped the pit in the orchard. Through some miracle, the pit germinated and grew into the 100-year-old avocado tree. The remote area is a Sonoran desert climate and the huge tree is the only avo tree around.
Aravaipa Avocado Trees
Aravaipa avocado trees are now available for sale in Arizona, but they’re all part of the original 100-year-old avocado mother tree. Some nurseries near the original tree graft branches from the Aravaipa tree onto other avo tree rootstock. These grafted trees are sold to people in Arizona who want a drought-resistant superfruit tree.