Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Papaya Tree and Fruit

The papaya, carica papaya, family caricaceae, often called the melon tree and sometimes the papaw, is not soft wooded, palm-like evergreen tree indigenous to the tropical lowlands of central America. It is cultivate in tropical countries around the world for its palatable fruit and for the latex of the green fruit, which contain papain, a protein digesting enzyme that is used commercially as a meat tenderizer.

Papaya trees, which are male, hermaphroditic, or female, have palmate leaves clustered at the top of the trunk. White, cream-colored, yellow, or purple tinged flowers are borne in inflorescences on the trunk in the axils of the leaves. Both male and female trees must be present to produce fruit; hermaphroditic trees are self fruitful. Fruit ranges in shape from globose to long avoid, and in color from light yellow through deep yellow, orange, and pink to red.

The soft stemmed papaya tree bears clusters of soft, melonlike fruit. Papaya is an important fruit in tropical countries.

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