Papaya is the fruit of the species Carica papaya, the widely cultivated species in the genus Carica. This tropical American native was first cultivated in Mexico before the emergence of classic civilisations. The genus Carica has traditionally been treated as including around 20 species but a paper in 2002 suggests that the splitting of Carica subgenus Vasconcella into a separate genus should be recognised based on AFLP data. It is not clear whether further phylogenetic research will support this.
The parent of our current plants was grown from seed of a large fruited papaya that had been grown at Reading from seeds collected from a supermarket fruit.