(Carica quercifolia)

 A young potted plant of oak leaved papaya

Synonyms: Vasconcellea quercifolia

Other names: Fig tree of the Mount, Mamón of the Mount, Higuera del Monte, Mamón del Monte

Oak leaved papaya is a fruit of South America.  It grows in Argentina, Bolivia, Peru, Paraguay, Brazil and Uruguay.  It is not cultivated commercially.

Fruits of oak leaved papaya

            Oak leaved papaya is a small herbaceous dioecious tree growing 5-8 m high.  The plant grows quite fast.  It is also a quite hardy plant and can withstand temperature upto 22 F.  The plant is, however, sensitive to excessive soil moisture.  The leaves are 8-35 cm long, membranous and glabrous on both sides, with a lighter green colour on ventral side.  Flowers are greenish yellow.  Male flowers are on axillary inflorescences and the female flowers are mostly solitary or in sparse racemes.  

Oak leaved papaya fruits on tree

            Fruits are small, 3 to 5 cm long and 1-2 cm in dia., bright orange and juicy.  These are eaten raw and have a sweet and a pleasant flavour.  The fruits are also reported to be rich in vitamin C.  Papain can also be extracted from fruits.

            Oak leaved papaya is a quite heavy bearer and can a mature tree can bear several hundred fruits.

            This plant can be propagated by seed as well as by cuttings.