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For cultivation, however, only female plants are used, since they give off a single flower each time, and close to the base of the plant, while the male gives off multiple flowers in long stems, which result in poorer quality fruit.
Either kind, picked green, is called a "green papaya". In response to the papaya ringspot virus (PRV) outbreak in Hawaii, in 1998, genetically altered papaya were approved and brought to market (including 'Sun Up' and 'Rainbow' varieties.) Varieties resistant to PRV have some DNA of this virus incorporated into the DNA of the plant.
The flowers are sweet-scented, open at night and are moth-pollinated.
Papaya plants grow in three sexes: male, female, hermaphrodite. The female will produce small, inedible fruits unless pollinated.
The papaya mosaic virus destroys the plant until only a small tuft of leaves are left.
The virus affects both the leaves of the plant and the fruit.The large-fruited, red-fleshed 'Maradol', 'Sunrise', and 'Caribbean Red' papayas often sold in U. The first signs of the virus are yellowing and vein-clearing of younger leaves, as well as mottling yellow leaves.Infected leaves may obtain blisters, roughen or narrow, with blades sticking upwards from the middle of the leaves.One of the biggest effects that viral infections have on papaya is the taste.As of 2010, the only way to protect papaya from this virus is genetic modification.Unusually for such large plants, the trees are dioecious.