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What is papaya?

Papaya, or a melon tree – is a very exotic kind of plant. We should better call it a tree, because it can be 6 meter high. However, it is not a tree as it doesn’t have a hardwood. The soft semirigid core is twisted with hard libriform fibers. By means of this bark the whole tree keeps stable and the core becomes more and more empty.

There are leaf fascicles on the tip of papaya hanging on the short leafstalks. Every leaf is open on the sides and often resembles a chestnut leaf. The papaya tree grows very quickly. It starts blossoming in a year after being seeded. The richest yield comes being a 3-5 year old. It can only live up to 5 years.

There are different flowers that papaya has: female, male, male-female and two more: female with a male character and male with a female character. However, you can find only some part of trees that have all these five types of flowers. Most trees have either male flowers or only female ones. The male trees have the flowers arranged in 1 meter long clusters. The female trees there groups of 5-6 flowers on the short footstalks that stick all over the upper part of the stem, and some of them go down by the stem. The ripe fruit keeps hanging very close to the ground.

The papaya fruit tastes like a melon and organized like a watermelon. The juicy flesh surrounds about 300-700 seeds that are easily separated from the fruit. The fruit is nutrient-rich and very healthy. The papaine is a ferment that contains the papaya fruit has its physiological effect that is very similar to the gastric juice and contributes to the digestion system. Papaine forms a part of the milky juice, which you can find in any kind of plant. It especially abounds the crude fruit and it’s too poisonous. As soon as the fruit matures the milky juice becomes transparent and loses its poisonous properties. Papaine is capable to dissolve the proteins. If you enroll a piece of coarse meat into the papaya leaf it will become soft in a few hours. The dry, milky juice is applied for gastric diseases. The local citizens wash their clothes with those leaves, so that is why it is called “negro soap”. The papaine can also heal up the burns. It is applied for freckles removal and it can strengthen the hair. And, of course, it is used in the cookery: you can add small pieces of papaya into the soup and roast meat; it can be also put into the salads, pies, different confectionery products, and they also eat them fresh.

The melon tree has been growing in South and Central America so long that its wild ancestors stay unknown. This is one of the most popular plants in the tropical regions.

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