Clarification: This article on papaya facts deals with Carica Papaya which is cultivated throughout the world as a tropical fruit tree. So, if you were expecting something else, we are sorry to disappoint you. Now, before we begin with the list of facts about papaya, we will like to divert our attention to its scientific classification. The classification is provided in the table below:
|Binomial Name||Carica papaya|
Now that we have the classification table, we can quickly move on to the facts list…
Interesting Papaya Facts: 1-5
1. The papaya is a tropical fruit tree. It is also known by the names Pawpaw and Papaw.
2. The Carica papaya is actually one of the 22 different species that fall under the Genus Carica.
3. Experts believe that papaya originated in the tropical regions of the Americas, most likely in Southern Mexico and Central America.
4. There was a time when papaya was considered as an exotic fruit because it was found in Mexico and Central America. Today however, it is one of the most widely produced fruits across the world.
5. We usually refer to the papaya plant as a tree. However, the reality is that the ‘tree’ is actually a gigantic herb.
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Interesting Papaya Facts: 6-10
6. The papaya fruit is actually a large berry. It usually takes a spherical shape or the shape of a pear.
7. The papaya tree grows anywhere between 5 meters and 10 meters or 16 feet and 33 feet.
8. It is a fast growing tree and can bear fruits within 6 months to 12 months from the date of planting the tree.
9. The papaya is a sparsely branched tree. It has a single stem and the spirally arranged leaves are placed usually on the trunk top.
10. The lower trunk is full of scars. These scars are left behind in places where leaves and fruits were borne by the tree.
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Interesting Papaya Facts: 11-15
11. The leaves of the papaya tree are large and green. Each leaf has 7 lobes. Because of their location on the tree, the leaves produce an umbrella-like structure.
12. Papayas are flowering plants. They produce white flowers that have five petals each. The flowers are highly dimorphic.
13. In case of males, the stamens and petals remain fused together but in case of females, a superior ovary is noticed with petals remaining connected to the base loosely.
14. The flowers of the papaya tree have a sweet scent and they open up during the night. They depend on moths for pollination.
15. People usually eat only the brightly colored flesh of the papaya. However, that’s not the only edible part of the fruit.
Interesting Papaya Facts: 16-20
16. Did you know that even the small black seeds of the papaya are edible? They actually taste pretty much like black pepper and there are countries where the papaya seeds are used as black pepper alternative.
17. The fruit, when unripe, will have green skin. However, when the fruit becomes ripe, the skin will turn yellow-green or amber. The flesh of a ripe papaya has an orange-pinkish color.
18. There are usually two variants of the papaya that are cultivated and sold throughout the world. The first one is the Hawaiian papaya and the second one is the Mexican papaya.
19. The Hawaiian papaya is smaller and has a pear shape. The maximum weight it attains is 1 pound. The Mexican variant on the other hand is pretty heavier and can attain the weight of 10 pounds.
20. The papaya tree will not have branches. Only time when a branch will appear is when the tree has been hurt or injured.
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Interesting Papaya Facts: 21-25
21. The leaves of the papaya tree will grow on petioles that are nearly horizontal. The petioles can reach the length of anywhere between 1 foot to 3.5 feet.
22. The papaya leaves are pretty large. They usually have a diameter of 50 centimeters to 70 centimeters. Each leaf is divided into seven lobes. They are deeply palmately lobed.
23. A single papaya leaf will have a lifespan of anywhere between 4 months to 6 months.
24. Papaya plants can be male. They can also be females and again, some of them can be hermaphrodite.
25. Male plants will always produce pollens. They will never produce fruit. Female plants on the other hand will produce fruits whether pollinated or not.
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Interesting Papaya Facts: 26-30
26. When not pollinated, female plants will produce fruits that are very small and not at all edible. They will produce edible fruits only when they are pollinated.
27. Coming to hermaphrodite papaya trees, they are pretty unique in the sense that their flowers contain both female ovaries and male stamens. This means that hermaphrodite papaya trees are capable of self-pollinating and hence, more widely used in commercial production.
28. Papayas are perennial plants. In the wild, they can live up to 20 years.
29. Every part of the papaya tree has latex. Though this latex is not really harmful, it can cause some serious problems for people with allergies and those who are highly sensitive.
30. There is an enzyme called papin in unripe green papaya fruit and even the papaya leaves. Apart from several medical benefits, this papin is known to be a natural meat tenderizer. Today, commercial meat tenderizers have papin in them.