The papaya is a small, sparsely branched tree, usually 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, 50–70 cm (20–28 in) in diameter, deeply palmately lobed, with seven lobes. All parts of the plant contain latex in articulated laticifers. Unusually for such large plants, the trees are dioecious. The flowers are 5-parted and highly dimorphic, the male flowers with the stamens fused to the petals. The female flowers have a superior ovary and five contorted petals loosely connected at the base. Male and female flowers are borne in the leaf axils, the males in multiflowered dichasia, the female flowers is few-flowered dichasia. The flowers are sweet-scented, open at night and are moth-pollinated. The fruit is a large berry about 15–45 cm (5.9–17.7 in) long and 10–30 cm (3.9–11.8 in) in diameter. It 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.
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