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papaya. he, she and/or both

The papaya (carica papaya tree) plant is naturally dioecious, that is it exists in male, female and sometimes both sexes together (or hermaphrodite).

By the way note: a monoecious plant is one that has male and female flowers on the same plant, or that has flowers on every plant that contain both male and female reproductive components. A dioecious plant has either male or female flowers, not both.

This morning, I came across the female version. Whilst the male produces only pollen, the plant never fruits, and the female, in this instance produces small, inedible fruits unless pollinated.

As the female papaya flower becomes the papaya berry, the male flowers are often used in salads, of in numerous dishes.

Its leaves, are also gorgeous, & are of the most unique shape.

The leaves grow on hollow stems in palm-like clusters at the very top of the tree, and each leaf contains a white, milky latex liquid that is emitted when torn. Papaya leaves are crisp, have a fresh, green flavour, and can be extremely bitter, depending on maturity.

And so there - the papaya. Another plant that never ceases to amaze, inspire & feed.

The humble papaya is actually considered a berry fruit - where berries are a kind of fruit characterised by fleshy, seed-filled plant parts that develop from a single flower's ovary.

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