Carica papaya

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Photographs by: Dr. Maulik Gadani

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  • Botanical Name : Carica papaya L.
  • Common Name : Papaiyu, Papaw, Tree Melon
  • Plant Family : Caricaceae
  • Earlier this plant was placed in family Passifloraceae by Bentham and Hooker. But because it does not show many characteristics of Passifloraceae and hence Hutchinson placed it under Caricaceae.

  • Plant Form : Tree
  • Occurrence (Sectors) : 1, 5, 6, 8, 12-15, 17
  • Occurrence (Special Areas) : Gujarat Forestry Research Foundation, Van Chetana Kendra, Infocity

About Carica papaya Plant :

  • Habit : A small tree usually dioecious with milky juice.       
  • Leaves : Spirally arranged, exstipulate, long-stalked, palmately divided usually 7-fid, lobes ovate, acute, variously lobed.
  • Flowers :
    • Bisexual and unisexual.
    • The plants being monoecious or dioecious, the female inflorescences are one to three-flowered, while the terminal flowers are sometimes bisexual or pure female.
    • The flowers are pentamerous and regular.
    • Male flower-Calyx 5 lobed, small, petals 5, united into a slender tube, lobes contorted or valvate.
    • Stamens 10 in two whorls at different levels on the petals, anthers, erect, introrse.
    • Female flower-solitary axillay or in clusters.
    • Calyx as in male, petals at first connivent but finally free, no staminodes, ovary superior, sessile, one celled, unilocular, ovules many, anatropous, on parietal placentas, on 5-lines from the wall.
    • Style short, stigmas 5, lobed.
  • Fruit : A big fleshy berry.
  • Seeds : Many, black ovoid, endosperm and aril present.
  • Flowering and Fruiting Time : Throughout year
  • Significance :
    • Cultivated everywhere for its fruits.
    • The green fruit is used to make meat tender, it is also prickled.
    • It contains an active peptonizing ferment, called Papain, which is used in medicine and in dyspepsia.
    • The milky juice is employed to cure ringworm and the leaves are used to expel Guinea-worm and also applied on warts, and corns to be removed from the skin.
    • The ripe fruit is much used chiefly to cure digestive troubles.