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Papayas come from Central America

Pictured here are Hawaiian papayas.

Photo © USDA ARS - Scott Bauer
Latin Name: Carica papaya

Other Names: Tree melon. In Australia, it is called pawpaw, though it is not the same as the pawpaw found in the U.S. and elsewhere.

Type: Tree-like herb

Native to: Central America

Fruit: Hawaiian papayas have yellow skin when ripe and orange or pink flesh, while Mexican papayas has green skin and can have yellow, orange or pink flesh. Mexican papayas are much larger than the Hawaiian papayas and can be over 15" long. The seeds are edible also.

Size: The papaya plant grows 10-12' tall.

Hardiness: Zones 9-11

Propagation: Seeds, cuttings

Uses: Papaya can be eaten fresh or used in many kinds of foods. The fruit and leaves contain papein, which can be used to tenderize meat.
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