Friday, December 18, 2009

What kind of fruit is this?

Kay wrote in to say she was driving in Beaumont when she saw this tree. I've never seen anything like it before, she said. Do you know what it is?

I didn't at first. I've never seen one, either. So I drove to the neighborhood she told me about until I spotted the tree. The family who lives there told me it is a papaya. They planted the tree more than a year ago, so it weathered our winter just fine. It's planted on the south side of the house, which undoubtedly helps.
Papaya trees can be male, female, or both. A male plant does not have ovaries, so no fruit. A female plant will set fruit, but when no male plant is near to fertilize it, it aborts the fruit. A male/female tree is self-pollinating. The papaya tree in Beaumont has three side by side, all with large fruit, so they either have another male nearby or are self-pollinating types.

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