An occasional tree of coastal hammocks, shell middens and disturbed sites throughout much of the peninsula. The small-fruited trees found in coastal and southern Florida appear to be the native species. Larger fruited trees that have escaped cultivation are native to tropical America.
Papayas grow up to 6m (20 ft.) tall with alternate leaves clustered near the top of the tree. The simple leaves are incised into seven to nine distinctive lobes. The upper surface of the 20-60cm (8 to 24 in.) long leaf blade is green and the underside is whitish. The petioles are 40-60cm (16 to 24 in.) long. Male and female flowers are separate and are yellowish to white. The fruit is ellipsoid to ovoid and fleshy, turning from green to orange at maturity.
Carica papaya is a member of the Caricaceae - Papaya family.
Date record last modified: Oct 18, 2020