papaya flowers male vs female; what is the difference between male and female papaya tree; male papaya leaf

Papaya Flowers Male Vs Female – How To Identify?

Papaya is a fruit grown worldwide in a million metric tons. In 2018, 13.3 million metric tons of papaya were grown worldwide. It’s an easy fruit to grow, but there’s a hard part.

Carica papaya is a hard fruit to determine the sex of. Without checking the flowers in papaya out, it’s impossible to distinguish between papaya flowers male vs female.


Male Papaya Flower

Female Papaya Flower


Slender, spoon-shaped bud

Conical Buds


Petals fused at the base

Free petals



Large with prominent stigma


Pollen grains bearing







If pollinated, yes

What Does A Papaya Tree Look Like?

Taking a Mexican papaya tree as a standard, it is thin and small with branches that are of small numbers. The entire tree is between 5 to 10 meters long. There are no branches or leaves in the lower part of the trunk.

The papaya tree is like an umbrella where the leaves are at the top of the trunk, and the fruits grow beneath the leaves. The leaves are oddly shaped, making them have an identity of their own. The leaves are large, about 50 to 70 cm in diameter, palmately lobed, 7 lobes, and green in color.

Each part of the tree contains white latex. If you ever break a leaf from the tree, you would see that the leaf’s stem has white latex. A papaya tree is capable of producing about 100 fruits per season. The fruits are pear-shaped but are quite larger than a pear. The exterior is usually green. As the fruit goes ripe, the exterior changes color to yellow and reddish-orange.

Types of Papaya Flowers

The typology of papaya flowers is not limited to male and female flowers. That means there are not only female and male trees; other types of papaya flowers and plants are available. To move forward, let’s look at the typology of the papaya flower-

  1. Male papaya flowers
  2. Female papaya flowers
  3. Hermaphrodite papaya flowers

Now, let’s briefly discuss these three types of flowers

Male papaya flowers

cluster papaya; Do male papaya trees flower; papaya sapling

In places like Hawaii, people have stopped growing male papaya plants. That’s why male papaya plants are becoming much rarer. Due to the third type of papaya plant that we will discuss later, people have lost the necessity of male papaya flowers. 

But in places like India, where Papaya is grown the most, farmers still plant male papaya trees maintaining the male-female ratio of 1:20. That means 1 male papaya tree for 20 female papaya trees. After all, papaya trees are dioecious plants.

Male papaya flowers are usually slender and spoon-shaped. They are light in color, green from the bottom, and petals mixture white and cream. Each petal is fused at the base of the stem. Unlike female papaya flowers, they are not bulky, as they don’t have any ovaries. They have reproductive organs like anthers and stamen from where pollen grains are spread for female papaya plants. 

Another common characteristic of a male papaya flower is that they are borne on the tree at a large number. You can easily differentiate the male trees from the female trees based on flower stalks falling beneath the tree.

Female papaya flowers

mexican papaya tree; what does a papaya tree look like; papaya without seeds; female papaya flower

Female papaya flowers are the ones that convert into fruit. Just like any other fruit, the flowers that contain ovaries are the ones that grow to become fruits. Female papaya trees are grown in abundance worldwide because of their fruit-bearing nature. At least people want to grow them, but you can’t tell whether it’s a female or male tree without checking the flower or the male papaya leaf axils at first. 

Female papaya flowers are bulbous at the lower end. The flower is quite bulky, while the buds are of conical shape. The ovary is quite large, and you can see the stigma as it’s very prominent on the female flower. 

The flowers do not contain any stamens like male flowers. If the flowers are pollinated, you will be able to see their transition from a flower to fruit. But if the flowers fail to pollinate, there will be change, and it will be dried out in time.

Hermaphrodite papaya flowers

Now, this is an interesting type of papaya flower. A hermaphrodite flower refers to a flower that contains both kinds of reproductive organs in one flower to produce fruit. That means papaya trees are dioecious plants, but there is also a hermaphrodite papaya flower that can turn itself into a fruit without depending on other flowers or trees for pollination. 

It’s really easy to tell which flower is hermaphrodite. The flower bud is cylindrical, and petals are fused at the base just like a male flower. But unlike a male flower, this one contains an ovary alongside stamens containing pollen grains. So, it can pretty much self-pollinate without the help of other male flowers. 

People prefer papaya seedlings that contain the seeds of hermaphrodite papaya trees instead of going for dioecious papaya. But which type of papaya is better than the other one?

Our Recommendation

If you are confused about where you can find the best papaya seeds or papaya trees that you can start your cultivation with, let us recommend you a few options.

Hawaiian papaya fruit seeds

These seeds are from Kanoa Hawaii, a famous brand that is an expert at growing plants and seeds. Unlike other papaya seeds, these can be planted all around the year. So, you don’t have to worry about waiting for the right time to plant it.

Also, Hawaiian papayas are best known for their exotic taste. These papayas are imported at a large amount from Hawaii to the US. So, if you can grow this at home, you can have fresh Hawaiian papaya, or if you plant them to cultivate, you can start your own business.

Another one of our recommendations is from Wellspring gardens specializes in growing Broadleaf papaya plants. These plants rarely die, and you can grow them without worrying about taking care of the seeds.

These plants are well known for producing a lot of papayas for farmers who professionally cultivate papaya. With each plant, you will get a fertilizer pouch to get started with. You can plant them all around the year too.

How to Tell Which Papaya Seed is Male or Female?

There is no way of telling which papaya seedlings will produce a male tree and which a female tree or which a hermaphrodite tree. This is why you should plant several seeds together to find out which is which. You have to let the plant grow and have flowers to see whether it’s a male, female, or hermaphrodite.

Which One Type Papaya Trees Should I Grow?

You should not grow only one type of papaya tree. When you are aiming for dioecious papayas, you need both male and female trees so that female flowers can be pollinated to grow to be fruit.

For hermaphrodite plants, you should not just go for these only. It would be best to have a variety of trees that can produce papayas in different amounts.

Can I Grow Only Female Papaya Trees?

You can, but the question is whether you should or not. The answer is, you shouldn’t. Even if you grow a thousand female papaya trees and not a single male one, none of your trees bear fruits because there was no pollination. So, don’t grow only female papaya trees.

How to Make Sure You Get the Fruits?

Ensure that you will get fruits; never plant only one tree. As you can’t tell by the seed whether you are growing a male or a female or a hermaphrodite plant, you should plant several papaya seeds or plants. That way, you are increasing the chances of getting the fruit. 

If you plant only one tree, you leave it to your luck. So, plant several papaya plants or seeds to get fruits.

Final Words

I hope to have covered everything to know regarding papaya flowers, male vs. female. We can expect you to know every little detail about papaya flowers if you have gone through the article. You should be able to identify the flowers based on our information. 

If you still can’t, it’s better to bring about a professional or a papaya farmer to help you with the identification. Remember, without identifying; you can expect to get any fruits. So, learn to identify the flowers first, and then you can worry about the fruit.

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Robert Silver

Robert Silver is a writer, speaker and certified master gardener who has been sharing his landscaping experiences through personal blogs. Taking it to the next level, Robert Silver has come up with this to shine a light on new planters and experts, discussing plants, landscape projects and much more. He has published numerous research articles on horticulture that have helped many people attain fruitful outcomes.