A small, branchless, tropical tree with deeply palmate leaves, Carica papaya bears golden-colored, pear-shaped fruit called papaya. The papaya tree is cultivated in most tropical climates around the world. Its fruit is typically juiced or enjoyed as breakfast and the leaves eaten as a vegetable. Beyond a food source, papaya leaf has also been employed for its beneficial properties for centuries. Papaya leaves are typically steeped as papaya leaf tea or used in external applications.
The papaya is a small tropical tree with a straight stem marked by scars where leaves have fallen directly from it. Papayas do not have branches.
The papaya fruit is pear-shaped with a bright golden-yellow skin. The flesh of the fruit is a brighter orange-yellow, juicy and silky smooth, with a sweet and sour flavor. The shiny gray or black seeds in the interior of the fruit have a peppery taste and are edible, although they are usually discarded.
The papaya is an extraordinarily useful plant. In the tropics around the world papaya is the breakfast fruit, served either green or ripe. The juice is a popular beverage, and the leaves and young stems are steamed and served as a vegetable. The fruit yields an enzyme, papain, best known as a digestive aid but most commonly used to "clear" freshly brewed beer. Papaya is in the Caricaceae botanical family.
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