The Full Wiki

Papaya: Map


Wikipedia article:

Map showing all locations mentioned on Wikipedia article:

The papaya (from Carib via Spanish) is the fruit of the plant Carica papaya, in the genus Carica. It is native to the tropics of the Americas, and was cultivated in Mexicomarker several centuries before the emergence of the Mesoamerican classic cultures. It is often called a "paw paw" or a "big melon" but the North American pawpaw is a different species, in the genus Asimina.

It is a large tree-like plant, the single stem growing from 5 to 10 meters tall, with spirally arranged leaves confined to the top of the trunk; the lower trunk is conspicuously scarred where leaves and fruit were borne. The leaves are large, 50-70 cm diameter, deeply palmately lobed with 7 lobes. The tree is usually unbranched if unlopped. The flowers are similar in shape to the flowers of the Plumeria but are much smaller and wax like. They appear on 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 or a bit softer) and its skin has attained an amber to orange hue. The fruit's taste is vaguely similar to pineapple and peach, although much milder without the tartness.

It is the first fruit tree to have its genome deciphered.

Cultivation and uses of papaya

Originally from southern Mexicomarker, Puerto Rico, Central America and northern South America, the papaya is now cultivated in most countries with a tropical climate, such as Brazilmarker, Indiamarker, South Africa, Sri Lankamarker, Haitimarker, and Southeast Asia.

The ripe fruit is usually eaten raw, without the skin or seeds. The unripe green fruit of papaya can be eaten cook, usually in curries, salads and stews. It also has a relatively high amount of pectin, which can be used to make jellies.

Green papaya fruit and the tree's latex are both rich in an enzyme called papain, a protease which is useful in tenderizing meat and other proteins. Its ability to break down tough meat fibers was utilized for thousands of years by indigenous Americans. It is included as a component in powdered meat tenderizers, and is also marketed in tablet form to remedy digestive problems. Green papaya is used in Thai cuisine, both raw and cooked.

Papain is also popular (in countries where it grows) as a topical application in the treatment of cuts, rashes, stings and burns. Papain ointment is commonly made from fermented papaya flesh, and is applied as a gel-like paste. Harrison Ford was treated for a ruptured disc incurred during filming of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom by papain injections.

Women in India, Pakistanmarker, Sri Lanka, and other parts of the world have long used green papaya as a folk remedy for contraception and abortion. Enslaved women in the West Indies are also noted for consuming papaya to prevent pregnancies and thus preventing their children from being born into slavery. Medical research in animals has confirmed the contraceptive and abortifacient capability of papaya, and also found that papaya seeds have contraceptive effects in adult male langur monkeys, possibly in adult male humans as well. Unripe papaya is especially effective in large amounts or high doses. Papaya is not teratogenic and will not cause miscarriage in small, ripe amounts. Phytochemicals in papaya may suppress the effects of progesterone.

The stem and the bark are also used in rope production.

The black seeds are edible and have a sharp, spicy taste. They are sometimes ground up and used as a substitute for black pepper. In some parts of Asia the young leaves of papaya are steamed and eaten like spinach. In parts of the world papaya leaves are made into tea as a preventative for Malaria, though there is no real scientific evidence for the effectiveness of this treatment.

The papaya fruit is susceptible to the Papaya Fruit Fly. This wasp-like fly lays its eggs in young fruit. In cultivation it grows rapidly fruiting within 3 years, however it is highly frost sensitive.

In the 1990s, two varieties of papaya, SunUp and Rainbow, that had been genetically-modified to be resistant to the papaya ring spot virus, were introduced into Hawaiimarker. By 2004, non-genetically modified and organic papayas throughout Hawaii had experienced widespread contamination from the genetically-modified varieties.

Allergies and side-effects

Papaya is frequently used for hair conditioner but should be used in small proportions. Caution should be taken when harvesting, as papaya is known to release a latex fluid when not quite ripe, which can cause irritation and provoke allergic reaction in some people. The papaya fruit, seeds, latex, and leaves also contains carpaine, an anthelmintic alkaloid (a drug that removes parasitic worms from the body) which can be dangerous in high doses.

It is speculated that unripe papayas may cause miscarriage due to its latex content that may cause uterine contractions which may lead to a miscarriage, though this has never been proven. Papaya seed extracts in large doses showed to have a contraceptive effect on rats and monkeys, but in small doses were shown to have no effect on the unborn animals.

Excessive consumption of papaya, as of carrots, can cause carotenemia, the yellowing of soles and palms which is otherwise harmless.

Medicinal potential

  • The juice has been seen to have an antiproliferative effect on liver cancer cells cultured in the laboratory, probably due to its component of lycopene.
  • Papaya seed could be used as an effective antibacterial agent for Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus, Salmonella typhi, although further research is needed before advocating large-scale therapy.
  • Papaya seed extract may be nephroprotective (protect the kidneys) in toxicity-induced kidney failure
  • Raw, fresh papaya leaves ground into juice can increase platelet count dramatically in a matter of days.


Names in other languages

Translations are available at Wiktionary:papaya.

Photo gallery

Image:Papaya tree.jpg|Papaya treeImage:Carica papaya - Papaya - var-tropical dwarf papaya - desc-leaf.jpg|Papaya leafImage:carica_papaya_bloem.jpg|female flowersImage:Carica papaya dsc07806.jpg|PapayaImage:Carica papaya - papaya - var-tropical dwarf papaya - desc-fruit.jpg|Papaya trunk with immature fruitImage:Koeh-028.jpg|tree and flowers, from Koehler's Medicinal-Plants (1887)Image:Papaya.jpg|Hawaiian papaya (with lilies and ginger)Image:D80-2007-03-29 7.JPG|Tanzanian Papaya treeImage:indian_papaya.jpg|An Indian papaya treeImage:Papaya in kerala India.jpg|A variety of yellow papaya in Keralamarker-India, the non-ripen fruit have even yellow skin, looks like ripe papaya.Image:Carica_papaya_Caceres.jpg|Carica papaya tree with fruits in Cáceres-Brazil

Notes and references

  1. University of Granada
  2. Green Papaya Salad Recipe -
  3. Entry on Harrison Ford's back treatment.
  7. Berrin, Katherine & Larco Museum. The Spirit of Ancient Peru:Treasures from the Museo Arqueológico Rafael Larco Herrera. New York: Thames and Hudson, 1997.

See also

External links

Embed code:

Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address