The Sharwil avocado; rated by our good friend Dr Bob Bergh, retired avocado breeder (developer of the Gwen, Esther, and Whitsell varieties) of the University of California, Riverside, as the BEST avocado in the world. And we agree – it is our favourite.
A variety developed in Queensland , introduced in 1954, which has become unpopular with growers because of its low productivity. However, it is the main variety grown in Hawaii – obviously suited to warmer climate.
Though the Sharwil tends to produce light crops, the fruit is of exceptional quality. The fruit is green-skinned (also when ripe) and medium-large in size. Flesh quality is superb – never a rot, streak or string, peels easily, stores well in the refrigerator, cut surfaces remain fresh.
Predominantly Guatemalan with some Mexican genes; with unknown parentage; selected in 1951 by Sir Frank Sharpe at Redland Bay, Queensland. The name “Sharwil” is an amalgamation of Sharpe and Wilson (JC Wilson was the first propagator).
Trees are large and rounded in shape, with a broad crown, extremely vigorous, forming a large dome and are more upright than ‘Fuerte’. New leaves are distinctively red but turn green when fully developed; red flecking on the wood of new shoots; flower Group B. Fruit are pyriform to ovate, medium size, weighing 245-475g; the peel is medium to thick, green with medium gloss, and a corky with wrinkled surface. Seeds are small and conical.
Fruit have mid-season maturity, with buttery to golden yellow pulp, about 81% flesh recovery, excellent quality with a rich nutty flavor and a high palatability over the full maturity range (21%-30% dry matter). The fruit stores well, both on the tree and post-harvest. This cultivar has the potential to set heavy crops but flowering and fruit set are sensitive to cool temperatures, thus reliable production only occurs in warm sub-tropical climates.
“Sharwil” has good tolerance to anthracnose and insect pests due to a medium to thick peel. It is one of the most susceptible cultivars to boron deficiency. Growth is vigorous but large limbs are brittle with protection from strong winds required. In 2010, “Sharwil” was the principal commercial cultivar in Hawaii, but production is limited elsewhere (except in localized warm areas) due to erratic cropping.
(Sharpe, 1965; Alexander, 1978; Whitley and Brown, 1980;Van Velsen, 1983; Durand, 1990; Whiley et al, 1996; UCR, 2012a; JH Crane, Homestead, Florida, 2011; personal communication).