I thought I’d write about these bizarre looking plants that showed up in my ‘yard’ earlier this school year and have just kept growing. It was almost if they weren’t there one day and then the next they were knee-high with many stems of large leaves.
Here’s a lovely encyclopedia like illustration from Wikipedia in case you aren’t sure what a papaya is or looks like. I will say it was not part of my daily fruit intake in Ohio, although my mother-in-law liked to put them in fruit salad in the summer, which I would then try not to get in my serving.
This plant has just kept growing. I have one out front and four in the back yard. They have the most bizarre looking stem with brown-ish speckles and slash-like brown ‘scars’ along the stem. Each stem has one very large leaf on it. I could try to impress you and pull out all my fourth grade plant knowledge and classify the leaf, the plant, etc. but even I, who is looking at the plant as I write, is not interested in that.
While I was opening the windows this morning I noticed that one of the papayas out back has a flower on the stem and the beginning of a round-fruit. That specific one has gotten so tall it extends past the top of the window. I’m not sure my little backyard can support having four large papaya plants, but I can see how it will provide some nice shade.
Peering out my other windows, I notice that one of the plants has tens of little flowers on the stem. I wonder how long it takes for a papaya fruit to grow and if there is any special care the plant needs. It’s been left to its own devices with some watering every now and then from my day guard and seems to be growing like gangbusters.
I will admit I was a little disappointed it was a papaya ‘tree’ growing in my yard when I first found out what it was. I really had hoped for a lime tree, an orange tree, or banana so I could ENJOY eating fruit from my own tree. Some of my colleagues have those in their yards and I loved the idea of having something I could eat with enjoyment.
Other random things I’ve found out about my papaya plant:
- Some countries call them pawpaws
- The male and female flowers look different from each other-I think I am seeing female flowers
- It can grow to 30 feet tall
- The stem is hollow
- Papaya flowers have a good smell
- You can cook the green, unripe papayas for some dishes
- There is even some kind of game where you grow papayas found a wiki for how to grow them virtually for some game called Rune Scape (WEIRD!)