S.K. Sharma, S.K. Mitra
India is a major papaya producing country which produced about 35% of the world’s production from about one fourth of total global area of 98,000 ha in 2008. Papaya was introduced in India from Malaysia in the 16th century. Although, India is not a hotspot for papaya biodiversity, it contains a large pool of genetic variability owing to five centuries of cultivation. Reported biodiversity in the family Caricaceae is spread over 6 genera and 35 species. Vasconcellea is the largest genus with 21 species. Genus Jacaratia has 7 species followed by Jarilla that has 3 species. Genus Cylicomorpha has 2 species, while genus Carica and Horovitzia have one species each. Out of various genera of the family Caricaceae, only Carica papaya is cultivated in India. Other genera are conserved for various academic and research purposes. Though most of the modern C. papaya cultivars in India were derived from 5 horticultural forms (‘Bangalore’, ‘Honey Dew’, ‘Ranchi’, ‘Ceylon’ and ‘Washington’), they show great morphological diversity in their height (tall, medium or dwarf), vigor (stunted to vigorous), stem and petiole colour (yellow, green and purple), objective of cultivation (fresh fruit or papain), flesh colour (yellow, orange, pink or red), and sex expression (dioecious or gynodioecious). High morphological and genetic diversity among cultivated papaya cultivars in India may be attributed to the crossing compatibility among them leading to the production of fertile hybrids. Wild papaya germplasm have immense potential in developing papaya cultivars for various objectives suited for different agro-climatic regions.
Sharma, S.K. and Mitra, S.K. (2014). AN OVERVIEW OF BIODIVERSITY IN PAPAYA IN INDIA WITH FUTURE PROSPECTS. Acta Hortic. 1022, 149-155
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2014.1022.19
Carica papaya, germplasm, biodiversity, dioecious, gynodioecious, papain

Acta Horticulturae