English Name: Papaya
Common Indian Name (Hindi): Papita
- The papaya, also known botanically as Carica papaya, is native to South America and is currently grown in several regions with tropical and sub-tropical climates. Its names vary depending on the geographical region, being called, for example, tree melon in Brazil or Paw Paw in certain American zones.
- Carica papaya is a small unbranched tree, the single stem growing to 5-10 m tall, with the spirally arranged leaves confined to the top of the trunk; the lower trunk is conspicuously scarred with the leaf scars of older leaves.
- Papaya plants come in three genders: male, female and bisexual, and their flowers are different, with male flowers being made by several small blooms, while females have one big bloom.
- The papaya fruit has an orange color when ripe. It resembles in flavor with that of a summer squash. Green papaya is often used as an ingredient in chutney or relishes. It is also cooked as vegetable.
- The fruits contain both hydrosoluble and liposoluble vitamins such as vitamin A, C and E.
- Papayas also contain several carotenoids, flavonoids, folates and trace minerals that react synergistically to provide DNA-protecting effects, which are directly linked to decreased risks of developing cancer and cardiovascular diseases.