- Author: Ben Faber
Boom, just when you think everything is going fine, you run across a reminder that there are little things going on in the orchard that are out of our control. In Goleta, I just ran across these crick-side, crook neck fruit that are a reminder that we just had about 3 weeks of foggy weather (in the fall, when it's supposed to be in the spring) and then a week of hot weather which is just the condition to create this calcium imbalance and distorted fruit. It's no big big deal, unless it was all over tree. Just more of an oddity. Harvest time is past this year so didnt expect to see it on this new fruit.
At avocado harvest time, growers are in the orchard checking things out a little more closely and to see what is going into the bins…..and they see some unusual shaped fruit. Here's what's been popping up and some possible explanations.
Crick-side - First described by Dr. J. Eliot Coit as kink-neck and later by Horne (1931) as kink-side. Finally, the name crick-side (Horne, 1934) was adopted. It is characterized by a definite depression on one side between the stem end and the larger portion of the fruit causing a distortion. In some cases, the area of depression turns black and the fruit drops. In other cases, the fruit grows and matures but the distortion remains. Crick-side is usually found on trees carrying a heavy load of fruit. It has been suggested that high temperatures or temporary water-stress may relate to the occurrence of crick-side, but no definite determination as to its cause has been made.
Carapace Spot - First described by Horne (1929), the name carapace-spot was chosen because of the resemblance to a turtles' back. This external blemish is corky and usually cracked into somewhat regular, angular divisions. The flesh under the carapace spot is undamaged, but exterior appearance is such that the fruit is reduced in grade. Slight rubbing or brushing of tender young fruit on leaves or stems appears to cause this corky growth to start. Fruit on trees exposed to strong winds are more apt to develop the trouble. Windbreaks should reduce injury in windy areas.
Photo: Avocado thrips damage, carapace damage and greenhouse thrips damage.
Sunblotch - This is a viroid that can affect fruit, leaves, and stems with a yellow or reddish streaking, cause a compacted growth and willowy growth habit. The streaking in the fruit is usually depressed and doesn't extend the length of the body.
Sunburn - Fruit exposed to full sun may be injured by sunburn. This occurs when trees defoliate, or partially defoliate, from any of several causes, leaving the fruit exposed. It is normally most severe on fruit on the south and southwest portion of the tree. Sunburn shows as a pale yellowish area on the exposed side of the fruit. Often the center of this area turns brown to black and may wither.
Ring Neck - This trouble has been observed occasionally, particularly with Hass. The cause is unknown but is believed to be related to soil-plant water deficiency at a critical time. A ring of tissue on the pedicel just above the attachment to the fruit dies, turns black and peels off. If only superficial, the fruit remains on the tree. Growth may be retarded because the restriction impedes movement of nutrients and water outward to the fruit. Most severe in humid coastal areas.
Embossment - Occasionally, and particularly on Fuertes, a section of the surface will be raised slightly or be a darker or lighter color. This is referred to as a sectional chimera or genetic mutation.
Healed over damage - if fruit has mild damage that allows it to heal over (remember avocado fruit expand by cell multiplication not enlargement), then a scar is left, such as this likely amorbia feeding
Cuke - As in cucumber but not a squash. These are seedless fruit that can most often be seen from a fruit set in cooler weather or due to some hormonal stimulus. We don't know the reason, but seems to occur more commonly along the coast.
Double Fruit - In some instances there may be a normal shaped fruit with a single cuke attached ot in some cases there is a double ovary and two fruit are attached.
Woody Avocados - For some unknown reason, avocado fruit will form into a grotesque woody structure hardly resembling an avocado. The cause is genetic and non-transmissible.
Sources: R.G. Platt - California Avocado Society Yearbook 1972-73 and Reuben Hofshi and M.L. Arpaia Yearbook 2002.
- Author: Ben Faber
The English often call a fruit seed other names, like pip. A large pit could be called a stone. Avocado usually has a seed, and if not it turns out to be a small fruit, called a "cuke". Well that's a different story. Sometimes little hard stones form in the flesh that are unrelated to germination. These stones are unpredictable and uncommon. A friend has said that if an avocado gives you a stone, turn it into a pearl. These stones are that rare. Art Schroeder from UCLA described them without much attribution to their cause, but gave them a good name - sclerocarpelosis. You can read his description in the 1981 California Avocado Society Yearbook which is available at Avocado Source:
Sclerocarpelosis in Avocado Fruit
C. A. Schroeder
Department of Biology, University of California, Los Angeles.
A rather unusual case of malformation in avocado fruit has been noted recently. The
aberrant tissue structure is not detectable from external examination of the fruit. Upon
cutting the mature or nearly mature fruit, the aberrant tissue becomes evident in the
form of a stony layer of various degrees of development located in the otherwise soft
fleshy pericarp wall. A tentative name of sclerocarpelosis is used to describe this
condition. The term sclero refers to hardness of the stone cells, or sclereids, which are
the basic structural elements involved. Carpel refers to the fruit wall, and osis implies a
disease or disturbance of the plant or plant tissue.
The fruit is sometimes affected to an extent that it becomes inedible. Still other fruits
may contain small clusters of stone cells which would not be detected even if eaten.
Extremely affected fruits can have a stony layer 1 to 5 mm in thickness completely
surrounding the seed. This structure is suggestive in many ways of a peach pit which
envelops the peach seed.
The affected fruits have been observed on several trees at various locations in a very
large (1300 acres) avocado planting in Orange County, California. The orchards
involved are situated on gently rolling hills. The major portion of the trees bearing
abnormal fruits are found in low elevations or "pockets" where the effects of local
radiation frosts were observed to severely affect the trees during the 1979-80 winter
season. Many of the trees exhibited responses to frost injury such as unusual resprouts
and development of main structural limbs at points near the soil, severe bark and
sunburn injury due to unusual exposure as the result of loss of leaf canopy by frost, and
a general weakened appearance of the entire tree in comparison with nearby unaffected