This article is about Carica papaya, the widely cultivated papaya (or papaw or pawpaw), a tropical fruit tree; "Papaya" redirects here. For the mountain papaya of South America, see Vasconcellea pubescens. For the Eastern North American tree (and fruit) called "pawpaw", see Asimina triloba. For other uses of "papaya", see Papaya (disambiguation). Not to be confused with Chaenomeles speciosa (flowering quince) or Pseudocydonia chinensis (Chinese quince), which like Carica papaya are sometimes called mugua. Papaya Papaya tree and fruit, from Koehler's Medicinal-Plants (1887) Scientific classification Kingdom: Plantae (unranked): Angiosperms (unranked): Eudicots (unranked): Rosids Order: Brassicales Family: Caricaceae Genus: Carica Species: C. papaya Binomial name Carica papaya L. The papaya (from Carib via Spanish), papaw, or pawpaw is the fruit of the plant Carica papaya, the sole species in the genus Carica of the plant family Caricaceae. It is native to the tropics of the Americas, perhaps from southern Mexico and nei hbouring Central America. It was first cultivated in Mexicoseveral centuries before the emergence of the Mesoamerican classical civilizations. The papaya is a large, tree-like plant, with a single stem growing from 5 to 10 m (16 to 33 ft) tall, with spirally arranged leaves confined to the top of the trunk. The lower trunk is conspicuously scarred where leaves and fruit were borne. The leaves are large, 50Ц70 cm (20Ц28 in) in diameter, deeply palmately lobed, with seven lobes. Unusually for such large plants, the trees are dioecious. The tree is usually unbranched, unless lopped. The flowers are similar in shape to the flowers of the Plumeria, but are much smaller and wax-like. They appear on the axils of the leaves, maturing into large fruit - 15Ц45 cm (5.9Ц18 in) long and 10Ц30 cm (3.9Ц12 in) in diameter. The fruit is ripe when it feels soft (as soft as a ripe avocado or a bit softer) and its skin has attained an amber to orange hue. Carica papaya was the first transgenic fruit tree to have its genome deciphered.