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(family Caricaceae)

A genus of small trees which have pithy trunks supported by phloem tissues. Several species have edible fruits, notably C. papaya (papaya), now very widely cultivated, whose leaves and unripe fruit contain a proteolytic enzyme, used to tenderize meat. There are 22 species, found in the American tropics. See disjunct distribution.

Subjects: Plant Sciences and Forestry.

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