Archives quotidiennes : 17 juillet 2011

Seedless pawpaw

This morning, after cutting a yellow fruit in half, I saw something I had never seen before: a matured pawpaw without a single seed.

This morning, I discovered something I didn’t know before: the fruit known as “pawpaw” in English is not always what we call “papaye” on Mars. Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia that anyone can edit, has an article at this address — — in which one can read what follows:

The pawpaw, paw paw, paw-paw, or common pawpaw (Asimina triloba) is a species of Asimina (the pawpaw genus) in the same plant family (Annonaceae) as the custard-apple, cherimoya, sweetsop, ylang-ylang and soursop. The pawpaw is native to the eastern United States and adjacent southernmost Ontario, Canada, from New York west to eastern Nebraska, and south to northern Florida and eastern Texas.

Which means that this is not what is called papaya in Spanish, the language from which the word papaye was borrowed. Ça alors ! Indeed, this Asimina triloba looks like other annonaceaes, among which our “zat”.

That’s enough of [a] two surprises for now. Unfortunately, I have to leave, and updating this post will have to take place later, alligator.


25 July 2011

So, what happened to the ripe pawpaw? Well, it has been digested, even if it was not that great a pawpaw, partly because it’s winter time. If I’m not mistaken, the best Martian pawpaws are known as “papaye solo”. Don’t ask me what that “solo” means, whether it is some kind of duo during which the lesser half turned its back on the other one or whether it is named after one lone Mr Solo, I won’t be in a position to answer your query.

In any case, it is still shocking, even after all these days, to realise that in some lonely part of the world there are people who call “pawpaw” something that looks more like a mango or a ‘cœur de bœuf’. The Oxford English Dictionary (Shorter) does mention that fruit though:

2. (Only in forms papaw, pawpaw.) U.S. name for a small N. American tree, Asimina triloba, with dull purple flowers and oval leaves; or for its edible fruits 1760.

“Pawpaw” was the only English name by which I knew the fruit of Carica papaya, but according to the SOED this name is just a variant of another word, the word papaw (dated 1598 by the SOED), which I had never heard of until now. The SOED also says that paw-paw can be a slang adjective:

Nursery term for ‘nasty, improper, naughty’, used euphemistically for ‘indecent, obscene, immoral’.

Since I am not very well versed in paw-paw language, I think we will leave it at that, avec les graines ou sans les graines.