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Papaya

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Papaya
Missing image
Carica_papaya_-_papaya_-_var-tropical_dwarf_papaya_-_desc-fruit.jpg



Papaya trunk with immature fruit
Scientific classification
Kingdom:Plantae
Division:Magnoliophyta
Class:Magnoliopsida
Order:Brassicales
Family:Caricaceae
Genus:Carica
Species:Carica papaya

Template:Taxobox section binomial botany

The papaya, also known as mamao, tree melon, or pawpaw (not to be confused with the true pawpaw), is the fruit of the tree Carica papaya. Originally from southern Mexico, Central America and northern South America, the papaya is now cultivated in most tropical countries.

It is a small unbranched tree, the single stem growing to 5-10 m tall, with the spirally arranged leaves confined to the top of the trunk; the lower trunk is conspicuously scarred with the leaf scars of where older leaves and fruit were borne. The leaves are large, 50-70 cm diameter, deeply palmately lobed with 7 lobes. The flowers are produced in the axils of the leaves, maturing into the large 15-45 cm long, 10-30 cm diameter fruit. The fruit is ripe when it feels soft (like a ripe avocado) and its skin has attained a honey-orange to pinkish red hue.

Papaya is rich in an enzyme called papain, a protease which is useful in tenderizing meat and other proteins. Its utility is in breaking down the tough meat fibers and has been utilized for thousands of years in its native South America. It is included as a component in powdered meat tenderizers. Papaya enzyme is also marketed in tablet form to remedy digestive problems.

The black seeds are edible, and have a sharp, spicy taste. They are sometimes ground up and used as a substitute for black pepper.

External links

da:Melontr (Carica papaya)

de:Papaya eo:Papajo es:Papaya fr:papaye he:פפאיה ja:パパイヤ ms:Betik nl:Papaja pt:Mamo zh:番木瓜

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