Common Names: Papaya
Scientific Name: Carica papaya
Climate: Warm and temperate
Plant Description: The papaya is a tree with a sponge-like and fragile trunk. It grows up to seven meters high. There are three varieties of flowers; female flowers, male flowers, and hermaphrodite flowers or of both genders.
It has a stem that is straight and hollow, with a diameter of 20 to 30 cm. The stem has a gray color. The leaves are green and long, reaching up to 130 cm in length. An adult plant has 30 to 50 functional leaves, which fall as the tree grows. It is distinguished by not having branches. The fruit is oval, yellow on the outside and orange on the inside.1
Cultivation: The papaya grows rapidly. Growing papaya from seeds is the easiest and most successful way to start. It can be sown in a seedbed or directly to the ground at any time of the year. If grown in a seedbed, the soil must be kept moist and transplanted when it reaches 10-15 cm. Ten to twelve months later it will begin to bear fruit.2
It needs regular watering as it is necessary to maintain constant humidity for the plant. Excess water is the most common reason for problems with fungal diseases and root rot when growing papayas. Papayas love heat and sunlight and they need to be planted in direct sunlight, they adapt to many well-drained soils.
It can bear fruit all year long as long as the weather is warm enough.
Uses: Papayas are rich sources of antioxidant nutrients. They contain more vitamin C than oranges,3 and also vitamin B. They have potassium, copper and magnesium, and fiber. Together, these nutrients promote a healthy cardiovascular system and also provide protection against colon cancer.
Additionally, the papaya contains the digestive enzyme papain, which is used as bromelain, a similar enzyme found in pineapple, to treat sports injuries, other causes of trauma, and allergies. It also functions as a laxative.
Pests and Diseases:As they age, plants become more susceptible to all kinds of diseases. They must die some time in their second or third year. The most common problem: root rot and fungal problems due to over irrigation.
En español: Papayo