Carica pubescens (PROSEA)

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Plant Resources of South-East Asia
List of species

1, habit of tree, with fruits; 2, fruit

Carica pubescens Lenné & K. Koch

Protologue: Ind. Sem. Hort. Bot. Berol.: 12 (1854).
Family: Caricaceae
Chromosome number: 2n= 18


  • Carica candamarcensis Hook.f. (1875).

Vernacular names

  • Mountain papaya (En)
  • Indonesia: gedang memedi (Bali).

Origin and geographic distribution

Mountain papaya is a native of the Andean range from Panama to Bolivia, at altitudes of 1500-3000 m. It is cultivated in several countries including the United States (Florida, Hawaii), Chile, Sri Lanka, Indonesia (Dieng Plateau in Java, Bali). Near the equator it only grows well in highlands above 1500 m.


The flesh of the ripe fruit can be eaten fresh but it is usually first stewed and sweetened. In Java the fruits are sold to tourists, used for local consumption and locally canned. In South America it is also used in non-alcoholic drinks and to prepare jam.


  • A dioecious treelet or shrub, much resembling the well-known papaya ( Carica papaya L.) but more branched and smaller in all parts.
  • The male flowers are borne on branched peduncles of 15 cm length, the larger female flowers on short, hardly branched stalks.
  • The ripe fruits are obovoid, 6-15 cm × 3-8 cm, flesh firm, orange-yellow, rather acid and fragrant, surrounding a cavity with numerous seeds covered with a whitish juicy sarcotesta.


Mountain papaya is an interesting crop for areas with a climate too cold for normal papaya. Moreover, its high resistance to papaya viruses makes it valuable in papaya breeding work.


  • Badillo, V.M., 1971. Monografía de la familia Caricaceae. Asociación de Profesores, Maracay. pp. 105-111.
  • Muñoz, S.M., 1988. Nomenclatura del papayo cultivado en Chile. [Nomenclature of the cultivated papaya in Chili]. Agricultura Technología (Chile) 48: 39-42.
  • Popenoe, W., 1939. Manual of tropical and subtropical fruits. MacMillan, New York. pp. 240-241.

Sources of illustrations

Curtis's Botanical Magazine. Vol. 101 (1875). Pl. 6198. Redrawn and adapted by P. Verheij Hayes.


  • M.M.J. van Balgooy