Andreas from Bogotá (aka Quimbaya@Flickr) shared this image via the BPotD Flickr Group Pool (original image). Apologies to other BPotD contributors , but I use a high percentage of Andreas’s photographs because they are from the tropics, and plants from that area are sorely underrepresented on BPotD relative to all of plant diversity. Thanks yet again, Andreas!
Carica pubescens is closely related to papaya (Carica papaya). It grows in the wild at high altitudes (>1000 m) in the Andes from Panama to Bolivia, but is also cultivated as an ornamental and food plant in gardens. Commonly known as mountain papaw, its similar biochemistry to papaya means it can also be used as a meat tenderizer. Purdue University hosts excerpts from two books on tropical fruits, both with sections on Carica pubescens: “South American Fruits Deserving Further Attention” and “Neglected Crops: 1492 from a Different Perspective”.
Its family, the Caricaceae, is distributed in the tropical and subtropical Americas, as well as Africa.