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Carica papaya



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Shrub or small palm-like tree from tropical America. The fruits are highly prized as a delicacy but various parts of the plant are also used medicinally, and the green fruits and leaves are used as a meat tenderizer.

Common Names

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Click on the language to view common names.

Common Names in Australian languages:


Common Names in Burmese:


Common Names in Chinese:

Fan Mu Gua

Common Names in Danish:

Melontræ, Papaya

Common Names in Dutch:


Common Names in English:

Papaya, Mamon, Paw Paw, Pawpaw, Tree Melon

Common Names in Finnish:


Common Names in French:

Papaye, Papayer

Common Names in German:

Melonenbaum, Papajabaum, Papajapflanze, Papaya, Papayabaum

Common Names in Hindi:


Common Names in Italian:


Common Names in Japanese:

Papaiya, Papaya, Popoo

Common Names in Khmer:

Doeum Lahong, Ihong

Common Names in Korean:

Pa Pa Ya

Common Names in Laotian:


Common Names in Malay:

Betek, Betik, Gedang (Indonesia), Kates (Indonesian), Ketalah, Papaya (Indonesia)

Common Names in Portuguese:

Mamão, Mamão, Mamao (Brazil), Papaia

Common Names in Russian:


Common Names in Spanish:

Fruta Bomba, Lechosa, Mamón, Mamón, Melón Zapote, Olcoctón, Papanajo, Papaya, Papaya Calentana, Papayero, Papayo

Common Names in Tagalog:

Kapaya, Lapaya, Papaya

Common Names in Tamil:


Common Names in Thai:

Loko, Ma Kuai Thet, Malako, Malakor, Sa Kui Se

Common Names in unspecified:

Papaya, Pawpaw

Common Names in Urdu:


Common Names in Vietnamese:



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Family Caricaceae

Trees small, palmlike, or shrubs , rarely vines , often prickly, monoecious, dioecious, andromonoecious, gynomonoecious , or polygamomonoecious. Stem stout, unbranched, rarely branched, with a terminal cluster of leaves, with flowing, latexlike exudate . Leaves alternate, long petiolate , usually estipulate, large; stipules when present, spiny ; leaf blade palmate or palmatifid , rarely entire or pinnatifid . Inflorescences axillary ; male flowers aggregated in cymose panicles; female flowers usually solitary or aggregated in corymbose cymes, large. Calyx 5-lobed; lobes small, connate basally. Corolla 5-lobed; tube long in male flowers, short in female flowers. Stamens 5 or 10, 1- or 2-whorled, inserted in throat of corolla tube; filaments free , connate basally; anthers introrse , tetrasporangiate , dehiscing via longitudinal slits. Gynoecium in male flowers vestigial, or absent; in female flowers syncarpous , synovarious to synstylovarious; ovary superior, 1- or 5-loculed, placentation when 1-loculed parietal (placentas ± deeply intruded) or laminar-dispersed, when 5-loculed axile ; ovules numerous , anatropous , bitegmic; styles 1 or 5, free to partly joined, apical; stigmas 5, papillate , dry. Fruit large, fleshy , indehiscent berry. Seeds numerous, surrounded by mucilage; endosperm oily; embryo well differentiated; cotyledons 2, broad, flat. n = 9.

Six genera and 34 species: Central and South America, one genus of two species (Cylicomorpha Urban) in tropical Africa, one genus (Carica) widely introduced and cultivated in tropical areas of the world, including China.[1]

Genus Carica

Trees small, or shrubs . Leaves subpeltate; leaf blade palmatifid , rarely entire. Flowers unisexual or bisexual . Male flowers: corolla lobes oblong or linear , valvate or contorted; stamens 10, filaments short; sterile ovary subulate . Female flowers: corolla lobes linear-oblong; stamens absent; ovary estipitate, 1-loculed; ovules several to numerous , placentation parietal ; stigmas 5, inflated or linear. Fruit large, succulent. Seeds numerous, ovoid or slightly compressed , arillate ; embryo compressed; cotyledons long elliptic .

One species: of cultivated origin in Central America, unknown in the wild; widely introduced and cultivated in tropical areas of the world, including China.[2]

Physical Description

Habit: Tree , Shrub

Flowers: Bloom Period: January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December. • Flower Color: near white, white


Size: 20-30' tall.


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Duration: Perennial


Culture: Space 8-10' apart.

Soil: Minimum pH: 7.9 • Maximum pH: 8.5

Sunlight: Sun Exposure: Full Sun .

Temperature: Cold Hardiness: 9a, 9b, 10a, 10b, 11. (map)


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Papaya carica Gaertner • Papaya Papaya

Similar Species

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Members of the genus Carica

ZipcodeZoo has pages for 16 species, subspecies, varieties, forms, and cultivars in this genus:

C. candicans (Mito) · C. cauliflora (Mountain Pawpaw) · C. mexicana (Coahuayote) · C. monoica (Carica) · C. omnilingua (Col De Monte) · C. palandensis (Papaillo) · C. papaya (Papaya) · C. papaya var. Tropical Dwarf Papaya (Papaya) · C. papaya 'Formosa' (Papaya) · C. papaya'Tropical Dwarf Papaya' (Tropical Dwarf Papaya) · C. pentagona (Babaco) · C. pubescens (Mountain Papaya) · C. pulchra (Col De Monte) · C. quercifolia (Oak-Leaved Papaya) · C. × heilbornii (Hybrid Babaco) · C. x heilbornii (Babaco)

More Info

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Further Reading

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Data Sources

Accessed through GBIF Data Portal November 14, 2007:



  1. Yinzheng Wang & Nicholas J. Turland "Caricaceae". in Flora of China Vol. 13 Page 150. Published by Science Press (Beijing) and Missouri Botanical Garden Press. Online at [back]
  2. "Carica". in Flora of China Vol. 13 Page 150. Published by Science Press (Beijing) and Missouri Botanical Garden Press. Online at [back]
Last Revised: 2014-05-14