Carica papaya Linn., Sp.Pl. 1036. 1753. Masters in Hook.f.,Fl.Brit.Ind. 2:599. 1879; Benthal, l.c.207, Bailey, l.c.; Stewart; Ann. Cat. Vas. Pl. W.Pak. & Kash. 495.1972.
Small herbaceous tree with white milky juice. trunk with scars of fallen leaves. Leaf blade 30-60 cm long, deeply divided into several lobes which are again divided into smaller lobes with acute apex, petiole 40-100 cm long, 1-3 cm in diameter. Plants mostly dioecious rarely monoecious with fragrant and nocturnal flowers. Male inflorescence 30-100 cm long pendulous raceme. Flower in clusters, sessile. 1.5-2 cm across and 3-6 cm long, calyx small c. 2 mm long, 5-lobed, acute. Corolla tube 3-6 cm long, 5-lobed, twisted in bud, lobes c. 1 x 0.5 cm long, creamy yellow. Stamens 10, in two whorls, outer whorl of the stamens shortly stalked, filaments c. 1.5 mm long, papilose, inner most sessile, anthers 1.5-2 mm long 2-celled dehiscing longitudinally, basifixed. In female plant 2-4 floral bud arise in the leaf axil, one of which becomes a complete flower; other floral buds fall off, sometimes one or two of them grow a little but never reach maturity, so flower seems to he solitary axillary. Peduncle short 1-2 cm long. Bracts fleshy, leaf, 1-2 cm long, caducous. Calyx united 5-lobed 5-8 mm long; acute, green and fleshy. Petals 5-6.5 x 1.6-1.8 cm, lanceolate, obtuse; stigma lobes fimbriate, c. 6 mm long: ovary 3.5-4 x 1.5-1.8 cm, some plants with female flower at the end of the branches of male inflorescence, producing elongated and smaller fruit. Fruit large spherical or pyriform usually 20-30 x 8-15 cm, turning yellow or orange with yellow or orange flesh. Seeds black, wrinkled, each enclosed in gelatinous membrane, oval in shape, c. 2 mm in diameter.
Fl.Per.: Throughout the year.
Type: Described from India.
Distribution: A native of Tropical America, cultivated all over the tropical and subtropical countries of the world. In Pakistan it is widely cultivated in Sind and Punjab.
The papaya was introduced in East from tropical America by Spaniards. The ripe fruit is eaten raw, is stomachic, digestive and carminative. The milky juice of unripe fruit contains papain which has a wide range of medicinal application. It is also used in tenderizing meat, in tanning industry, for bating skins and hides and for degumming natural silk. The seeds are said to quench thirst and are also used as vermifuge.