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Carica papaya

Pronunciation: Kair-rick-uh puh-pye-yuh
Family: Caricaceae (papaya family)
Common Name: Papaya, papaw, fruta bomba, lechosa, melon tree
Plant Type:
  • fruits, vegetables
USDA Hardiness Zones:
  • 30 to 20ºF ZONE 9
  • 40 to 30ºF ZONE 10
  • 50 to 40ºF ZONE 11
Sun Exposure:
  • full sun
Bloom Description: Papayas flower and fruit simultaneously throughout the year. Normally dioecious in the wild, hermaphroditic papaya cultivars have been developed. Several variations of the 'solo' cultivars, or hawaiian papaya, are the most common papayas in american grocery stores
Plant Perks:
  • Medicinal
  • Container Gardening
Propagation: Plant at least four or five seeds to be sure you get female and male plants. Seeds of 'solo' usually produce only female and hermaphroditic plants. Propagate other named cultivars from cuttings or by grafting onto seedling root stock.
Native to: Papaya is native to the lowland tropics of south america. It is cultivated throughout the world's tropical and frostfree subtropical regions for its edible fruits, and has naturalized in many areas. Almost every kitchen garden in the tropics or subtropics has a papaya plant or two. In the u. S. , papaya is cultivated in hawaii, southern california and south florida.
Notes for Identification: Source: floridata - the flesh of the ripe papaya fruit is yellow, creamy yet firm, fiberless, sweet and refreshing. Some liken the flavor to melon and apricot. The soft black seeds in the central cavity also are edible, tasting a little like watercress or nasturtium. Ripe papayas are soft and have a thin skin. In most cases the papayas available in grocery stores were picked while still hard and unripe. Like avocados, they will ripen off the tree at room temperature, but they will never taste as good as tree ripened fruits. Hasten the ripening of papayas by putting them in a paper bag with an apple or banana for a day or two. Never chill papayas until they are completely ripe. Use papayas in fruit salads, or serve sliced with lime juice. Pureed with ginger and hot peppers, papaya marinade is a natural meat tenderizer. Unripe, green papayas are pickled or cooked and eaten like summer squash, especially in thailand, indonesia and the philippines. The young leaves are sometimes eaten like spinach. The unripe papaya fruit and the leaves are the source of papain, an enzyme that digests protein and that is used as a dietary supplement to aid in digestion. Papain is used as a meat tenderizer, to clarify beer, in the processing of natural silk and to give shrink resistance to wool.  care: grow papaya in fertile, well-drained soil. This is one of the easiest of tropical fruits to grow. Papayas usually have male and female flowers on separate plants and you can't determine the sex until they flower, usually about 6 months after germination. Male flowers are thin and borne on short stalks; female flowers are wide and borne directly on the trunk. Select only hermaphroditic plants or all female plants with one male for each 15-20 females. Grow only locally developed cultivars for best results. Papayas need full sun and warmth. Grown in partial shade, they produce fruit that is not very sweet. The tropical papaya needs at least 4 in (10. 2 cm) of rain per month for optimal fruit production. They like plenty of water when it's warm and less when it's cooler.
Seed photo: 1
Located in: Seed Photos
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