Carica citriformis Jacq. f. Passifloreae.
African Tropics. This plant bears a fruit the size of an orange, eatable but insipid.
Carica microcarpa Jacq.
South America. The plant bears fruit the size of a cherry.
Carica papaya Linn. Melon Tree. Papaya. Papaw.
American tropics. The papaw tree is indigenous in Brazil, Surinam and the West Indies and from these places has been taken to the Congo. Its transfer to the East Indies may have occurred soon after the discovery of America, for, as early as 1626, seeds were brought from the East Indies to Nepal. Its further distribution to China, Japan and the islands of the Pacific Ocean took place only in the last century Linschoten says, it came from the East Indies to the Philippines and was taken thence to Goa. In east Florida, it grows well. Of the fruit, Wm. S. Alien of Florida, writes that it is often as large as a melon, yet the best varieties for eating — those having the best flavor — are no larger than a very large pear. The fruit is used extensively in south Florida and Cuba for making tough meat tender. The toughest meat is made tender by putting a few of the leaves or the green fruit of the pawpaw tree into the pot with the meat and boiling. In a few minutes, the meat will cleave from the bones and be as tender as one could wish.
Dr. Morris read before the Maryland Academy of Science a paper by Mr. Lugger in which the fruit is said to attain a weight of 15 pounds, is melon-shaped, and marked as melons are with longitudinally-colored stripes. The fruit may be sliced and pickled. The ripe fruit is eaten with sugar or salt and pepper. The seeds are egg-shaped, strong-flavored and used as a spice. The leaves have the property of making meat wrapped up in them tender. Brandis also says, meat becomes tender by washing it with water impregnated with the milky juice, or by suspending the joint under the tree. Williams says, the Chinese are acquainted with this property and make use of it sometimes to soften the flesh of ancient hens and cocks by hanging the newly-killed birds in the tree, or by feeding them upon the fruit beforehand. The Chinese also eat the leaves. Hemdon says, on the mountains of Peru, the fruit is of the size of a common muskmelon, with a green skin and yellow pulp, which is eaten and is very sweet and of a delicate flavor. Hartt says the mamao, a species of Carica in Brazil, furnishes a large and savory fruit full of seeds. Brandis calls the ripe fruit in India sweet and pleasant, and says the unripe fruit is eaten as a vegetable and preserved. Wilkes says, it is prized by the natives of Fiji, and Gray says the fruit is a favorite esculent of the Sandwich Islanders. The tree bears in a year or 18 months from seed and is cultivated in tropical climates.
Carica posopora Linn.
Peru and Chile. This species bears yellow, pear-shaped, edible fruit.
Sturtevant's Edible Plants of the World, 1919, was edited by U. P. Hedrick.