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Carica Papaya

Updated on April 12, 2011

The papaya or Mamon, (also known as Melon de árbol = tree melon), fruta bomb or lechosa, (Carica papaya L.) is a plant of the family Caricacee.It is a herbal plant.


It looks like a small tree with few branches, it could branch out in case of injury, with up to 5-10 m tall The trunk, even in mature specimens, has a tender texture, a little woody, and has scars produced by the rise and fall of the upper leaves. The sap is milky consistency, (hence its name: lechosa = milk), which is toxic in its natural state for humans, they can produce allergic skin irritation on contact with skin. This milky sap contains a very useful enzyme, papain, used as a softening of meat in barbecue using the juice flowing by cutting the bark of green papaya to pour over the meat, making it very tender and juicy.

The leaves are arranged in a rosette at the apex of the trunk, are large, palmate-lobed, 50-70 cm in diameter.

The flowers are produced at the leaf axil.

The fruit

The fruits have a delicate texture and an oblong shape, and may be green, yellow, orange or pink. They can weigh up to 9 kg. For the sake of marketing in most cases should not weigh more than 500 or 600 grams, especially in dwarf varieties of plants, very productive and generally intended for export, to be more portable and last longer after harvest until the time of their consumption. The fruit size decreases as a function of age of the plant. The fruits and flowers are in clusters just below the insertion of the petioles of leaves palmate. The plant is not demanding as to soil, they can develop into any vacant lot or even in large vessels. It is one of the most productive plants in relation to its size because it blooms constantly and always has both flowers and fruits. The development of the fruit due to the fall of lower leaves, and fruits are always short compared to leaves exposed to sunlight.


The dioecious species occur naturally, but artificial selection has produced hermaphroditic species. The papaya fruit is known as consumption, in both directly and as a smoothie and dessert (prepared with green fruit boiled with sugar), and has some remarkable properties to facilitate the digestion of food assimilation difficult, due to its high content of papain . From this enzyme called papain will produce more than 1000 tons annually in the world. This derivative is used in the manufacture of beer, cosmetics and food industry.

Distribution And Habitat

 It is a plant native to Central America, known and used throughout America for many centuries, perquanto now cultivated in many countries of other continents, mainly in Asia and Africa. Before the arrival of Europeans in Mexico was called chichihualtzapotl, which in Nahuatl means "sapote nodriza," and was a fruit particularly connected with fertility. It lives in tropical environments (Central and South America) at temperatures that should never fall below 0 ° to avoid rot.


The fruit is large with heavy use like melon.

In medicine is extracted from papaya papain, the active substance with proteolytic function. Contrary to popular belief it does not promote weight loss, but the simple digestion of proteins.


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    • Hyphenbird profile image

      Brenda Barnes 6 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

      I know this one and it IS delicious. Thanks for another fun and informative Hub.

    • daffodil2010 profile image

      daffodil2010 6 years ago

      i have tested it. it is so delicious!