Carica papaya – Papaya
Other Common Name: Pawpaw
Carica papaya, or simply papaya, is a tall herbaceous plant, which some think of as a sparsely branched tree because of its height. It belongs to the family of Caricaeae and originated in Central America, but is now widely planted and grown in tropical area all over the globe. In some parts of the world, it is commonly known as pawpaw.
It grows anywhere between 5 to 10 meters or 16 to 33 feet tall. The leaves are arranged in a spiral pattern and are cramped in the upper portion of the trunk. Also, what makes the trunk distinct is that it has a lot of noticeable scars from where the leaves and the fruits were developed.
The leaves of the papaya are big, growing anywhere from 50 to 70 centimeters or 20 to 28 inches in diameter. They are palmately lobed, which means that they consist of lobes that spread out from the base of the leaves.
One unique thing about the papaya is that it is dioecious, which means that it has both male and female organisms. It has highly dimorphic and 5-parted flowers. The female flowers possess a notable ovary and have five petals that are connected loosely at the base, while the male flowers have stamens that are bonded to the petals. They open at night and have a distinct sweet smell.
The papaya fruits can grow very big and can weigh up to 9 kilograms or even more. They start green, but turn yellow to orange as they ripen. They are rich in calcium as well as vitamins A and C and can be used in salads, desserts, or made into juices and jams. The unripe papaya fruit can also be cooked and eaten as a vegetable.