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From Biology-Online Dictionary | Biology-Online Dictionary
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1. (Science: botany) A tree (carica papaya) of tropical America, belonging to the order Passifloreae. It has a soft, spongy stem, eighteen or twenty feet high, crowned with a tuft of large, long-stalked, palmately lobed leaves. The milky juice of the plant is said to have the property of making meat tender. Also, its dull orange-coloured, melon-shaped fruit, which is eaten both raw and cooked or pickled.

2. (Science: botany) A tree of the genus Asimina (A. Triloba), growing in the western and southern parts of the united states, and producing a sweet edible fruit; also, the fruit itself.

Origin: Prob. From the native name in the West Indies; cf. Sp. Papayo papaw, papaya the fruit of the papaw

Alternative forms: pawpaw.