PAPAYA TREE – Carica papaya L.

PAPAYA TREE – Carica papaya L.

Papaya Tree

Latin (Binominal) NameCarica papaya L.
Botany Author Citation (L.)Carl Linnaeus
Common NamesPapaya; Papaw or Paw Paw (Australia); Mamao (Brazil), Tree Melon.
Scientific Classification
SpeciesC. papaya
Country of OriginMexico and Central America.
Average annual rainfall304 millimetres (Mexico City)
Geographical DistributionSouth America, Africa, India, Australia Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand and Hawaii.
Native EnvironmentTropical and subtropical
Maturity Height:


5 to 10 metres
Maturity Canopy Spread: 1.5 to 2.5 metres
Maturity Trunk size: Up to 20 cm in diameter
Leaf Description:


–          Spirally arranged and palmate with seven lobes, soft hairs and up to 70cm in diameter.

–          Leaf stalks (petioles) can reach up to 1m long.

–          The life of a leaf is 4 to 6 months

Parts used
Fruit–          Ripe fruit is usually eaten raw, without skin or seeds.

–          Unripe green fruit eaten cooked in curries and stews, sweets and deserts.

–          High levels of pectin used to make jelly.

–          Ripe papaya is usually consumed fresh as a breakfast or dessert fruit; it can also be processed and used in a variety of products such as jams, fruit juices, and ice cream

–          Unripe, green papaya fruit and the leaves of the papaya tree contain an enzyme called papain. Papain has been used as a natural meat tenderizer for thousands of years and today is an ingredient in many commercial meat tenderizers.

Nutrition–          Raw papaya pulp contains 88% water, 11% carbohydrates, and negligible fat and protein (table). In a 100 gram amount, papaya fruit provides 43 kilocalories and is a significant source of vitamin C (75% of the Daily Value, DV) and a moderate source of folate (10% DV), but otherwise has low content of nutrients

–          A small papaya contains about 300% of the recommended daily amount of Vitamin C.

Seeds–          Sharp, spicy taste

–          Ground and used as a substitute for black pepper.

Leaves–          Young leaves boiled as part of lalab salad

–          Steamed and eaten

–          Tea made from papaya leaves is consumed in some countries as protection against malaria.

Flower–          Sautéed and stir-fried as Minahasan papaya flower vegetable disk

Bark–          The bark of the papaya tree is often used to make rope.
Traditional Use and Folklore


–          In some parts of the world, papaya leaves are made into tea as a treatment for malaria, no treatment method based has been scientifically proven

–          unripe papaya has been used for centuries by women as a natural contraceptive and to induce abortion

–          The juice is used for warts, cancers, tumors, corns, and indurations of the skin.

–          Leaves poulticed onto nervous pains and elephantoid growths.

–          Roots said to cure piles and yaws

–          Javanese believe that eating papaya prevents rheumatism.

–          Dietary papaya does reduce urine acidity in humans.

–          Inner bark used for sore teeth. Latex used in psoriasis, ringworm, and prescribed for the removal of cancerous growths in Cuba.

Safety Issues and Precautions


–          Unripe Papaya releases a latex fluid, possibly causing irritation and an allergic reaction in some people.

–          Large consumption of ripe papaya may cause carotenemia, harmless yellowing of soles and palms.

Life Cycle
Evergreen or DeciduousEvergreen
Life Span–          Bloom to maturity is 5-8 months

–          Short-lived perennial, generally 3-5 years (commercial)

–          25 years + (wild)

ProductionGlobal production (2014) of papayas was 12.7 million tonnes, led by India (44%).
Year to 1st fruit1 year
Years of fruit production3-5 years
HarvestingPapaya is harvested all year round with production peaks during autumn and spring.
PollinationBased on flower type there are three types of papaya plants: female, hermaphrodite, and male. Hermaphrodite flowers are usually self-pollinating. Female flowers are probably pollinated by wind or by insects (thrips, moths). Hand pollination can be used for better fruit setting.
Growing Information–          Growing papaya trees is generally done from seed that is extracted from ripe fruit. Seeds will germinate in 2-3 weeks. Optimum germination temperature is around 70 F (20 C).

–          The best place to plant a papaya is on the south or southeast side of a house with some protection from wind and cold weather.

–          Papayas grow best in full sun, well-drained soil, as standing water will kill the plant within 24 hours.

–          Temperatures below −2 °C (29 °F) are greatly harmful if not fatal.

–          Root growing above 60 degrees Fahrenheit.

–          Cold Climate: Papaya is a tropical fruit tree but if you are thinking to plant it in a temperate climate plant it in a large pot and try to overwinter it in a well-protected area, like a greenhouse. [R3]

–          Optimum temperature for growing papaya ranges between 68 – 86 F (20 to 30 C).

–          Papaya tree can bear cold temperature down to 32 F (0 C) for a short period of time.

–          Fertilize them regularly. A complete fertilizer, compost or something like chicken manure.

DiseasesVirus diseases, mildew, anthracnose, root rot.
Insect pests:


Mealybugs, thrips, mites, white flies, fruit spotting bugs, fruit flies.
Care Information–          Water frequently for best fruit production. Mulch trees (4+ inches), taking care to keep the mulch 8 to 12 inches from the trunk.

–          Protect developing fruit from pests by placing a paper bag over them until they are ripe.



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