Pawpaw — another fast fruit

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.

Unripe pawpaw growing from upper part of trunk. Unripe green fruit is shredded and added to salads.

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.

Ripening fruit. Pawpaw takes on a yellow colouration when ripe.

Perhaps not the recommended way to harvest pawpaw, Jeff Jeffed selects a ripening pawpaw.

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