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Binomial Name Carica papaya
Taxon Species
Description Papayas are tropical, evergreen fruit trees native to the tropics of Central and South America that are grown for their fruit, which are also known as papayas. Papaya trees have a single, non-woody trunk that has scars from previous years' leaves, and is topped with a canopy of large, deeply lobed leaves. Fruit hang in clusters beneath the leaf canopy. Papaya trees have fragrant, yellow to white flowers that open at night and are pollinated by moths. They are naturally dioecious, meaning some trees are female while others are male, but hermaphrodite cultivars have been bred. Only hermaphrodite and pollinated female trees will bear fruit. Papayas are extremely frost-sensitive and can die at temperatures below -2° C. They can be grown in containers in colder regions, but may not produce fruit. Standing water can also kill trees, so they need soil with good drainage. The fruit are 15-45 cm long and 10-30 cm wide and can weigh from .45 kg to 9 kg. They are ripe when the skin is amber to orange and the fruit feels soft. Two types are commonly grown: one has sweet, red or orange flesh, and the other has yellow flesh.
Sun Requirements Full Sun
Growing Degree Days
Sowing Method Transplant young hermaphrodite tree or direct seed indoors
Spread (diameter) 450 centimeters
Row Spacing 400 centimeters
Height 600 centimeters