papaya trees

Kapaa, HI

Because papaya trees grow on my island (Kauai) like weeds i never thought twice about the intricacies of growing them. . When i started growing my own papaya trees, I found out that some are male, some are female and some are hermaphrodite. From what i have read it appears that much of the sex issues of papayas trees depends on the variety.

I planted 3 beautiful strawberry papaya trees in my back yard. Two are loaded with fruit. I presume they are hermaphrodites. The third tree is a female. There is no male tree around to fertilize it. (question 1) Do i pull it?

There is a Solo papaya tree ( a volunteer/weed....obviously a different variety of fruit) relatively close to the 2 strawberry papaya trees. (question 2.) Do i eliminate it to keep the strawberry variety pure?

I have another Papaya tree of an unknown verity that is separated from the others. This tree makes magnificent 5 pound pink fleshed fruit. It is an older tree that got quite tall. In Hawaii older papaya trees are cut in half and a can is put on the trunk to keep stagnant water out of the hollow trunk to prevent rot. The tree then sprouts arms, usually 2 or 3, which then produces fruit. This is all in process and it seems to be fine. (question 3) The tree has many sprouts that are developing into arms (maybe 10). Do i pinch off the extra arms off and leave 2 or 3?

Houston, TX(Zone 9a)

I'm not sure about the question on the strawberry Papaya.

Re the branching, I pinch all but 1 or two branches off..and then it seems like it still tries to grow extra ones. This one originally had about 4, but I took the two other ones off..seems like it works pretty good.

I have some good friends who live in Kekaha.


Thumbnail by rjuddharrison
Kapaa, HI

Thank you so much for the info. Now i know what to do if i am faced with this again. I just went out out and pinched off all but 4 of the healthiest branches. From here I will watch to see which ones do the best and eliminate 1 or 2 more.

Houston, TX(Zone 9a)

Sure, good luck!
I'm finding most of my trees these days hermaphrodite, even the ones a friend sent from Maui are turning out to be hermaphrodite.

Keaau, HI

If there are plenty of honeybees around the female may utilize pollen from the hermaphrodite, as the flowers do have anthers and transferable pollen.
Many folks in Puna worry that GMO Papayas (UH 'Rainbow') on nearby plantations will send pollen that will mess up their organic Papayas in their home gardens. They say that the unwanted pollen can travel over a mile.

If you are trying to raise pure strains of Papaya for seed, then you will need to keep the varieties distantly apart. If you are just trying to get fruit, there is no problem having them near each other.
If you cross the varieties, you might come up with some interesting mixes. The Strawberry is sweeter, but the yellow-orange flesh of the Solo Papaya contains more beta-carotene.

The large fruit sounds like a Watermelon Papaya, a favorite for making Papaya Salad!
Instead of trimming off branches, fertilize the plant and let it decide which branches it will keep. Watermelon Papaya trees can get huge!

Aloha, Dave

Houston, TX(Zone 9a)

do you have any picture of such papaya that is let go to decide?

Keaau, HI

Sorry Randy, my Papayas died off when I was sick. I am just planting Papaya again. My Watermelon Papayas are still seeds!

noonamah, Australia

I've found in growing papayas (called paw paw here) you can have male plants a number of kilometres away and females will get fertilized. It's probably due to the long range of the introduced European bees (Apis species) as opposed to our native bees (Trigona and Austroplebeia species) which only operate in the warmer parts of the day and over a much smaller area. GM papaya pollen can't be contained except in a sealed environment. It will be spread a long way.

Christiansted, VI(Zone 11)

What have they modified the GM for? What results did they want?

The world is being taken over by mad scientists!

Keaau, HI

The UH 'Rainbow' Papaya which is Big Agribusiness in Puna was genetically modified to resist Papaya Ringspot disease.
This resulted in a blander tasting Papaya with less nutrition, and it didn't stop the disease, they just selected out a more virulent strain of it.

What seems to resist disease the best are the natural heirloom species.

(Zone 9a)

Tropicbreeze, that is interesting about papayas being called Paw Paws in Australia. In the US we have a tree commonly called Paw Paw and it does have fruit that resembles papayas but it is a completely different species.

Now that I have tried papaya salad I love it and I'll be on the lookout for green ones. Randy, do you have a variety that ripens early enough for our climate? The NOID one I grew obviously needed a mate because it bloomed regularly but I never got fruit. It lived outdoors here for 2 years then bit the dust this past, unusually cold, winter.

Houston, TX(Zone 9a)

We called them Paw Paws in Africa too.

The variety I have is presumably grown in Mexico or S. Texas as I bought the original from the grocery store. Depending on the winter, depends on when the fruit ripens. Normal winter/summer...the Papayas will ripen over winter and early spring. Warm winters like last winter they ripen all year long. I just ate a couple last week, although these had no seeds in them. Because of our unpredictable winters, I grow them like anuals, and always have a couple of 3 year old trees in pots that over winter in the green house to replace those that may have perished during the winter. The 3 year old tree's virtually leap out of the ground once planted and are producing in a couple of months. Matter of fact I need to re-pot this years seedlings.

Christiansted, VI(Zone 11)

Wild Papayas here run the gamut from bitter to very tasty and sweet. Small thin rind, fruits, tho' Just a couple of bites.

Mérida, Yucatán, Mexico(Zone 11)

We have wild papaya here as well, I've never tried one. They are important for many birds, iguanas, monkeys though. The fruit is about the size of a plum.

Kapaa, HI

We have many types of papayas here. Some can get quite huge, depending on the variety up to 10 to 20 pounds (AM.). We eat the raw green papayas in salads and cook green papayas in soups. We eat ripe papayas in as many ways as one can do with fruit.

Houston, TX(Zone 9a)

Yeah, that's how I started drying the seeds, is using the papaya in an W. African Palm soup dish my brother & I learned to make growing up there...Talk about big Papayas! They are as big as watermelons there.

Kapaa, HI

Anyone who was born and raised in Hawaii has eaten this soup. This is considered comfort food in many Hawaiian families.

Chicken Soup with Green Papaya

2 1/2 lb chicken pieces
1 teaspoon salt
Dash of pepper
3 tablespoons salad oil
6 or so slices of fresh ginger root..(it is not chicken papaya soup without the ginger)
1 onion, sliced
2 cans (14 1/2 oz size) chicken broth
2 cups water
1 large green papaya, pared and seeded

Season chicken with salt and pepper. In a large saucepot, heat oil and brown chicken with ginger slices. Add onion; cook until onion is transparent. Add broth and water. Cover and simmer for 1 hour. Pare papaya and cut into 2 x 2 1/2-inch pieces. Add papaya to soup and cook 5 to 10 minutes or until papaya is tender. (The ginger is strictly for flavoring it is not eaten) Makes 6 servings.

Houston, TX(Zone 9a)

Yes, we put it in our chicken soup too. Add 2 tablespoons of peanut butter to that....tastey

Houston, TX(Zone 9a)

this is my recipe..

Christiansted, VI(Zone 11)

Booo, can't I eat the ginger?

Keaau, HI

Which ginger?

Christiansted, VI(Zone 11)

In d_thomcat's soup, see the bottom of the recipe, above. Hm, I'm gonna eat the ginger!

Keaau, HI

I agree! I would grate the ginger in, and eat it all.

Kapaa, HI

Yes some people do grate the ginger and eat it.

We usually just slice it and take it out of the soup, something like how you use a bay leaf. But yes it can be eaten if you like. Its just a matter of style.

By the way, that recipe originated in the Philippines.

Christiansted, VI(Zone 11)

I knew some Texans. Chili pepper could never be too spicy hot for that bunch. One of the wives found some candied/chrystalized Ginger. Ha, those big tough guys couldn't even eat the littlest sliver! You should have heard them holler, it wa sooo funny!

Xai Xai, Mozambique

In south africa we call pawpaws the more rounded fruit, while papaya is the longer fruit, including the red type.
Papaya/pawpaw seeds can be ground and taken as medicine to expel worms. i also heard that you can drink papaya leaves' tea to prevent malaria, but i proved it wrong. i drank it several months in which i got malaria twice.

noonamah, Australia

Tea made from papaya leaves is supposed to be good for cancer. Although I had a close friend who had breast cancer that I grew a lot of papaya for. But she died anyway. Don't know if it was because the cancer was too advanced, or that it just doesn't work. That's the thing with these sorts of remedies, whether they work or not you don't know what part the "remedy" played in it.

Keaau, HI

Papaya leaves, sap, seeds, and unripe fruit contain papain enzymes which digest proteins.
They can be used to treat spider bites and jellyfish stings, help heal wounds, expel intestinal worms, and correct digestive disorders.

noonamah, Australia

We have an ointment here of course called Paw Paw Ointment which is commonly used on sores. A lot of people will have it in their first aid kits.

Hillsborough , NC(Zone 7a)

Aloha - welcome Westraad!

I believe that the unripe fruit is used here as birth control - not quite sure how though - the mind boggles!

Houston, TX(Zone 9a)

hmmm..I wouldn't mind trying the pawpaw ointment...mabe I'll smear some

noonamah, Australia

I think the ointment is made from the fermented fruit.

Kwajalein, Marshall Islands(Zone 11)

Here in the Marshalls, papaya is called Keinabbu, and it is used as a medicinal plant as well as a food. Depending on the concoction, the leaves are used to treat high blood pressure, kidney infection, arthritis, stomach and intenstinal problems, and the fruit is used to treat fungus and ringworm. I find it so interesting that the healers in all these various places have understood the beneficial aspects of this fruit long before botanists and other scientists. I have an incredible respect for the knowledge of traditional healers.


Keaau, HI

The birth control thing is supposed to be made from the seeds; the unripe fruit is split in half and placed on jellyfish stings and spider bites.

Papaya ointment that I'm familiar with is an alcoholic extraction of the leaves. It doesn't make sense to ferment the fruit, as the papain enzymes dissipate as the fruit ripens.

noonamah, Australia

Maybe that was a story put out to throw people off the track of making their own. I find it much simpler to buy the ready made product.

St John's, Antigua and Barbuda(Zone 10a)

We call them Paw Paw here in the Caribbean too!

Houston, TX(Zone 9a)

My Paw Paw is the called the Mama Paw Paw, as it is the mother of all my others.
I just took this one today

Thumbnail by rjuddharrison
Tilaran, Costa Rica

Thomcat. I made your soup last night.
Wicked good !

Delray Beach, FL(Zone 10a)

I have got to make that soup as soon as I can get my hands on a green papaya, which is not common around here.

Jenny, I must side with you about that papaya birth control. The mind races with possibilities. Enough said.

In Canada, papayas are too expensive to bother with them. This is a fruit I discovered when we moved to Florida. There is a sense of luxury every time I dice up a nice big juicy papaya and cover it in lime juice about 1 hour before dinner. Lime is also very expensive in Canada. What can I tell you, we are a polar country. Go ahead, ask me anything about snow!

Take care, all.

Houston, TX(Zone 9a)

Does it really fall from the sky!??

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