Pappaya (ഓമയ്ക്ക)

Scientific Name: Carica papaya L.

Synonyms: Carica peltata Hook. & Arn., Carica posoposa L.

Unique ID: 39

Systematic Position

Class: Dicotyledonae

Sub Class: Polypetalae                         

Series: Calyciflorae

Order: Passiflorales

Family: Passifloreae

Common Names

English – Pawpaw

Malayalam – ഓമയ്ക്ക

Tamil – Pappani

Hindi – Papita



Description: Carica papaya is an evergreen, tree-like herb, 2-10 m tall, usually unbranched, although sometimes branched due to injury, containing white latex in all parts. Stem cylindrical, 10-30 cm in diameter, hollow with prominent leaf scars and spongy-fibrous tissue. Has an extensive rooting system. Leaves spirally arranged, clustered near apex of trunk; petiole up to 1 m long, hollow, greenish or purplish-green; lamina orbicular, 25-75 cm in diameter, palmate, deeply 7-lobed, glabrous, prominently veined; lobes deeply and broadly toothed. Flowers tiny, yellow, funnel-shaped, solitary or clustered in the leaf axils, of 3 types; female flowers 3-5 cm long, large functional pistil, no stamens, ovoid-shaped ovary; male flowers on long hanging panicles, with 10 stamens in 2 rows, gynoecium absent except for a pistillode; hermaphrodite flowers larger than males, 5-carpellate ovary; occurrence depends on the season or age of the tree. Fruits large, cylindrical, with fleshy orange pulp, hollow berry, thin yellowish skin when ripe, varied.


Habitat: Widely cultivated

Distribution:  Native to Costa Rica, Mexico, US

Uses: Agroforestry; beverage base, food additive; fruits; chemicals, dye tanning; rubber/latex; source of medicince in traditional and folklore systems