Paw Paw generally live about 7 years from sprout to death. However there are records of a 40 year old tree. However they are not very productive after about 7 years. They take between 5 months and 12 months to fruit.
In my climate (sub-tropical) they will fruit all year round however they are most abundant in the summertime. I base this upon my own observation of what my Paw Paw trees do.
They are productive for up to 6 years.They originated in Mexico and there are 29.84 inches of rain per year in their origins.
Their Latin name is Carica papaya. They are from the Caricaceae.
Apart from producing fruit they have lovely flowers useful for bees and they make a great shade tree for understory growth. They are easy to grow in small spaces and make a great addition to visual greenery. Papaya also have the enzyme papain which is used in Latex production. The fruit has medicinal value as a heart depressant, amoebicide and diuretic. The fruit and juice are eaten for gastrointestinal ailments; a fresh leaf poultice is used to treat sores. The fresh root with sugarcane alcohol can be taken orally or as a massage to soothe rheumatism. A flower decoction is taken orally for coughs, bronchitis, asthma and chest colds. In some countries, the seeds are used as an abortifacient and vermifuge. (http://www.worldagroforestry.org/treedb/AFTPDFS/Carica_papaya.PDF).
Crown Width 1-3m
Shape- single stem/trunk unusually unbranched with leaf crown. Fruits from the stem.
Trunk diameter 10-30cm
Challenges in growing Papaya in my area are mostly the wind. They do not like wind as they do not have a strong structure and their leaves and flowers are easily removed by wind. They are also susceptible to disease such as white scale in my area. They need both male and female plants to fruit. However you can now buy bisexual varieties.
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