Papaya, (Carica papaya), often known as papaw or pawpaw, is a big plant in the Caricaceae family that produces a succulent fruit. The papaya may be a hybrid of two or more Carica species that are native to Mexico and Central America, despite the fact that its origins are somewhat uncertain. Today, it is grown in all tropical regions as well as the warmest regions of the subtropics. The papaya fruit has a pleasant musky flavor that is somewhat sweet and more strong in some types and regions than in others. It is a well-liked fruit for breakfast in many nations, and it is also used in salads, pies, sherbets, juices, and sweets. Unripe fruit can be prepared similarly to squash.
Despite growing up to 8 meters (26 feet) tall and having a palm-like trunk, the papaya plant is not as woody as the name may suggest. Deeply lobed leaves that may measure 60 cm (2 ft) broad and are carried on hollow petioles (leaf stalks) that are 60 cm long cover the top of the plant. Although the species is typically dioecious, with male and female flowers growing on different plants, there are known hermaphroditic varieties, and several abnormalities in the sexes’ distribution are prevalent.
On stalks 90 cm tall, male flowers are produced in clusters. These funnel-shaped, whitish blooms are 2.5 mm (0.1 inch) in length and have 10 stamens in the throat. The female flowers are much bigger, grow on very short stalks, and are frequently found alone in the leaf axils. They feature five fleshy petals that converge at the base, a huge cylindrical or globose superior ovary, and five sessile stigmas that resemble fans.
The fruit often has a spherical to cylindrical shape, measures 75 to 500 mm (3 to 20 inches) in length or even longer, and occasionally weights up to 9 to 11.5 kg (20 to 25.5 pounds). The very delicious flesh has a rich yellow, orange, or crimson hue. The many spherical, wrinkled black seeds are adhered to the walls of the expansive central chamber.
A protein-digesting enzyme called papain, which has a strong resemblance to the animal enzyme pepsin in its digestive function, is found in the unripe fruit’s milky liquid. This juice is employed in the creation of a number of indigestion cures as well as in the production of meat tenderizers.