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ative Photo: Thingnam Girija
Common name: Papaya, Melon tree, Pawpaw, papaya, Tree melon • Hindi: पपीता Papita • Manipuri: ꯑꯋꯥꯊꯕꯤ Awathabi • Marathi: पपयी Pappayi, पोपय Popay • Tamil: பப்பாளி pappALi • Bengali: Papeya • Konkani: पॉप्पाइ poppayi • Sanskrit: एरण्ड कर्कटी Erand karkati • Mizo: Thing-fanghma • Kannada: ಪಪ್ಪಾಯ Pappaaya, ಪಪ್ಪಾಯಿ Pappaayi, ಪರಂಗಿ Parangi
Botanical name: Carica papaya    Family: Caricaceae (Papaya family)

The papaya plant has an erect branchless trunk 6-20 ft tall, and a palmlike head of foliage at the top. The trunk remains somewhat succulent and soft wooded, and never develops true bark. It is ringed with prominent scars from previous leaf stems and contains an acrid milky latex sap. The leaves are deeply incised and lobed, up to 24 in across and borne on 24 in petioles. The five-petal flowers are fleshy, waxy and fragrant. Some papaya bear only short stalked female flower or bisexual flowers, while others may bear only male flowers, clustered on panicles 5-6 feet long. Some papaya may have both male and female flowers. The flower of papaya are usually white and small. Pollination of papaya are done by wind and sometimes by hand when necessary to get a proper fruit. The smooth-skinned fruits are green, yellow, orange or rose colored, and typically weigh about 0.5 kg. They hang on short stalks in clusters directly from the trunk beneath the umbrella of giant leaves. Papayas flower and fruit simultaneously throughout the year.

Identification credit: Tabish Photographed in Delhi & Mumbai.

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