- Scientific name: Carica papaya
- Family: Caricaceae (papaya, pawpaw)
Thick-stemmed and sparsely branched (pachycaul) large herb up to 10 m tall. Trunk or stem conspicuously scarred. Leaves up to 70 cm in diameter, soft hairs, seven deep lobes on every leaf. Leaf stalks (petioles) can reach up to 1m long.
- This giant herbaceous plant is very fast growing, bearing flowers and then fruit within a year of planting.
- Cultivated in most tropical countries, the ripe fruit is usually eaten raw and the unripe green fruit cooked in curries and stews.
- The fruit is high in pectin, meaning it can be used to make jellies.
- The fruit is used medicinally to aid digestion, lower inflammation and improve healing.
- The pulped fruit is also said to make a great face mask.
Where it grows
Native to tropical and sub-tropical frost-free zones in south-east USA, Caribbean, and Central and South America.