Carica papaya (Pawpaw, papaya)
Origin: Tropical America
Location: Tropical House
The papaya is a small tree, usually with a single stem, growing from 5 to 10m tall with spirally arranged large, palmately-lobed leaves at the top of the trunk. The lower trunk is conspicuously scarred from former leaves and fruit. Originally from Central America, it is now cultivated in most tropical countries, where it grows rapidly, fruiting within three years. All parts of the plant contain latex, and the enzyme Papain, extracted from green fruit, is used as a meat tenderizer, chewing gum additive and beer clarifier.
Thanks to Maggie Gowland for photographs.