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Pawpaw — another fast fruit

Pawpaw — another fast fruit

Photos and story by Russ Grayson

Common name: Pawpaw, papaya
Botanical name: Carica papaya

Growth form: A small, usually single-stem tree between 3-10 m of tropical, subtropical climates. The tree will grow in coastal warm temperate climates. Large, lobed, palmate-shaped leaves grow from the crown to around 50–70 cm in length. The fruit grows from the crown.

Reproduction: Seed.Centre of diversity: Central/northern South America.

Uses: Food.

Edible part: Fruit. The fruit is commonly eaten ripe, when it turns yellow. Green, immature fruit is shredded in salads.

Uses in community food garden design: Plant in the community garden’s food forest/tree cropping zone.

Pawpaw is another fast-fruit that grows to edible stage quickly. This enables it to be planted among slower-growing fruit and nut trees to make use of space until the slower-growing trees grow and shade it out. This is accelerated successional planting.

Grow pawpaw in clumps in a warm microclimate sheltered from strong, cold winds.

Notes: Pawpaw, banana, tamarillo and babaco are some of the fast-fruits that yield harvest well before slower growing fruit and nut species like the citrus, macadamia and avocado. They provide an early yield in new community gardens in appropriate climates.

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