Papaya, a small tree native to tropical America, Hawaii, and the West Indies. It is widely cultivated in southern Florida, southern California, and parts of Asia and Africa, primarily for its bland, sweet-tasting fruit. The tree grows rapidly and seldom lives more than five years. Its straight, unbranching trunk may reach a height of 30 feet (9 m). Large, deeply lobed leaves on long leafstalks spread from its top. The fruit clusters close to the trunk at the base of the leaves, and may be round or oblong, and from 3 to 20 inches (8 to 50 cm) long. It is greenish-yellow or orange on the outside when mature, and the flesh matches in color.

Papaya fruitPapaya fruit clusters at the base of the leaves.

The milky fluid of the fruit, leaves, and trunk contains an enzyme called papain, which is used as a remedy for digestive troubles and as a meat tenderizer.

The papaya is Carica papaya of the family Caricaceae.