Author Topic: Highland papayas (Vasconcellea genus)  (Read 7685 times)

Daniel R

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Highland papayas (Vasconcellea genus)
« on: March 08, 2015, 05:22:29 PM »
Last year I started reading about so called highland papayas and got really fascinated by them. I ordered some of my seeds online and I got some seeds from one member of this forum (rarefruit). Since I live in the temperate region (USDA zone 6) i knew i will have to find a way to overwinter them indoors. This has proven to be quite a challenge since most of species demand high humidity and a lot of light, together with temperatures above 0C. As a precaution a have donated one plant of every species that I have to botanical garden in Ljubljana, so in case i fail in keeping rest of them alive, some of the plants will live on and maybe serve as source of seeds in the future. The purpose of this thread is to write about my experiences with growing highland papayas in temperate regions and most importantly how to overwinter them (and how to avoid making same mistakes as me).

Vasconcellea cundinamarcensis (syn: Carica pubescense): this is one of the rare species of Vasconcellea that you can actually find some information on cultivation. That being said, I had by far hardest time keeping it alive. It doesn't like having cold and moist soil at the same time because it's roots start to rot (it is same with all papayas). Twice I have lost all plants because of root rot and once snails eaten all leaves (plants survived, but died in the winter because of the root rot). Now i am planning to sow them for the third time. So the lesson here is: keep them somewhere where snails can't get to them and keep them somewhere worm in the winter. Also, water them very sporadically (colder the temperature, drier the soil).

Vasconcellea goudotiana: compared with V. cundinamarcensis I had very little trouble with growing this species. I have kept them in a place where temperature never dropped under 5C, with fair amount of sun (although we have a lot of cloudy or foggy days in winter) and I didn't water them much (to avoid root rot). Because there was not enough sun they started dropping leaves, but still kept some of them and have by now stopped dropping them since days are getting longer. But they did make flower buds trough the winter-probably because of stress caused by lack of watering. All my plants have survived and are tallest of all papayas planted last year (30+cm ). If anyone would like to grow a species of highland papaya this is the one I would recommend.

Vasconcellea monoica: this species has been moderately difficult to grow. I had some troubles with those I kept in the same place as V. goudotiana, probably because minimal temperature was too low. Once I moved them somewhere warmer they got better, but i still had problems with leaf edges getting brown and eventually dropping off. This was maybe caused by some disease, but strange thing is that V. monoica was only species with this problem.  Now that they are in a warmer room and days are getting longer i don't have any problems with them.

To be continued...

KarenRei

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Re: Highland papayas (Vasconcellea genus)
« Reply #1 on: March 09, 2015, 05:49:41 AM »
My goudotianas are lovely plants. And there seems to be major genetic diversity, one of the ones that came up has blood-red stems while the other has a more plain color. My only complaint is that they seem a little finnicky, they like to lose leaves for no apparent reason - wish I could figure out the triggers.  Mine are about 2 and 1,5 meters tall - both male, unfortunately.

I have a ton of monoicas but they're too little to comment about at this point.
J, g er a rkta surnar plntur slandi. Nei, g er ekki klikku. Jja, kannski...

Daniel R

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Re: Highland papayas (Vasconcellea genus)
« Reply #2 on: March 09, 2015, 11:20:20 AM »
I have attributed loss of my goudotiana's leaves to insufficient sunlight. But they haven't lost all leaves, only bottom ones and one at the time.
 

greenman62

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Re: Highland papayas (Vasconcellea genus)
« Reply #3 on: March 09, 2015, 11:55:23 AM »
i bought some monoica seeds
i only got 5 in a pack and one was broken
(strange looking seed)
so, i had planted 2, neither came up so far
its been a few weeks.
what do they look like as seedlings - compared to papaya ?

i was under the impression pubescense was easier to grow than that ?
i think i have one growing
i had planted several seeds, but, they got mixed up with my papaya.
the ones i think they are have a purple trunk
how can i distinguish them at 1ft tall ???

by the way
it looks like Horowitzia and Jarilla
are both closer relatives to Papaya Than Vasconcellea
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What are the evolutionary relationships among the genera of Caricaceae?
The closest relatives of papaya were long thought to be the Andean mountain papayas (Vasconcellea species). However, this was erroneous and based on a poor understanding of the evolutionary relationships in Caricacea

http://herbaria.plants.ox.ac.uk/bol/caricaceae#phylogeny

KarenRei

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Re: Highland papayas (Vasconcellea genus)
« Reply #4 on: March 10, 2015, 07:18:38 AM »
what do they look like as seedlings - compared to papaya ?

I can't say compared to papaya, as I haven't grown papaya itself. My monoica seedlings come out rather lanky compared to the other types of seeds I've germinated, a long pale green stem with two small dark green rounded(?) leaves that are initially stuck in the seed.
J, g er a rkta surnar plntur slandi. Nei, g er ekki klikku. Jja, kannski...

Daniel R

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Re: Highland papayas (Vasconcellea genus)
« Reply #5 on: March 10, 2015, 04:02:40 PM »
Vasconcellea quercifolia-this is one of the easier species to grow. Fresh seeds germinate in 2 weeks (they take longer if they are not fresh) and are relatively undemanding and pest free. They don't mind overwintering in a room with only 5C and only pest i have problems with are aphids. They even thrive in a room with low humidity and relatively low light. It is definitely highly recommended species for growers who don't have a lot of experience with tropical plants.     

Daniel R

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Re: Highland papayas (Vasconcellea genus)
« Reply #6 on: May 01, 2015, 01:56:24 PM »
Here are some pictures of Vasconcelleas. Most plants in the pictures are mine, but some pictures were taken in Rotterdam:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/131456537@N04/sets/72157651227479228/

barath

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Re: Highland papayas (Vasconcellea genus)
« Reply #7 on: May 01, 2015, 03:19:43 PM »
I recently got some Babaco seeds from a Babaco grown by a fellow local gardener -- they're supposed to be seedless, but this one mysteriously produced seeds.

If you can't get a hold of Babaco cuttings to root, seeds from the Babaco (assuming they germinate, which I'll find out soon), would be a good way to go.
« Last Edit: May 01, 2015, 03:29:06 PM by barath »

Daniel R

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Re: Highland papayas (Vasconcellea genus)
« Reply #8 on: May 02, 2015, 01:48:40 AM »
Yeah, but Babaco seeds are fairly hard to come by. And even if I'd found a place on the Internet where they sell them I would be very skeptical weather what they sell are really Babaco seeds and not just ordinary papaya. But if somebody knows a reliable source for Babaco seeds, I would greatly appreciate info on where to find them. 

barath

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Re: Highland papayas (Vasconcellea genus)
« Reply #9 on: May 02, 2015, 11:10:19 AM »
Let me see if I can get some extra seeds and I can send a few to you.  (Send me a PM to remind me if you don't hear from me.)

Daniel R

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Re: Highland papayas (Vasconcellea genus)
« Reply #10 on: May 02, 2015, 11:50:08 AM »
Do you have source for other seeds of Vasconcellea species?

stuartdaly88

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Re: Highland papayas (Vasconcellea genus)
« Reply #11 on: May 03, 2015, 06:21:04 AM »
Israseeds on ebay sells Papayuelo (Carica goudotiana) his orchard has yellow and red fruits and he says his mature plants survive to 27f.
Thing I like about this seller is he has many pics of his actual plants not just stock images. It looks like an interesting little fruit is it actually a Vasconcellea not a carica?
Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet.
-Jean-Jacques Rousseau

Daniel R

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Re: Highland papayas (Vasconcellea genus)
« Reply #12 on: May 03, 2015, 11:31:30 AM »
There are 2 sellers on Ebay that have V. goudotiana for sale. One is from Israel and one is from USA. I have bought some seeds from seller from USA and I was very happy with them, I think germination was almost 100%. I haven't bought anything from seller from Israel, but he seems legit. It is actually not that hard to find seeds of V. goudotiana, pubescense, quercifolia, microcarpa and monoica. But seeds from other species are damn hard to come by. There is just not enough interest in these species and as result seeds are not being collected and sold at all. 
« Last Edit: May 03, 2015, 06:06:06 PM by Daniel R »

Daniel R

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Re: Highland papayas (Vasconcellea genus)
« Reply #13 on: May 03, 2015, 06:14:17 PM »
For instance, i was incredibly lucky that one member of this forum contacted me and send me some seeds of various Vasconcella's. Unfortunately I had to leave them in someone else's care for month and a half and as result, most of them died because they were not watered regularly. Only one specimen of V. parviflora survived and no specimens of V. paladensis. Parviflora is still alive and well, but since I have only one (male) plant, there is no chance of me getting any seeds (I still need female plant). I have tried contacted various institutions that might have seeds or could send me cuttings but thus far unsuccessfully. But this forum has many members that come from all over the world and I hope that somebody will be able to help me.

Tuckee

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Re: Highland papayas (Vasconcellea genus)
« Reply #14 on: May 03, 2015, 11:30:20 PM »
I have been quite intrigued with vasconcellea(s), but never have chance to taste the fruit, can you all share your experience about the taste and aroma of the fruit, especially in relation to papaya? Thanks.

Tuckee

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Re: Highland papayas (Vasconcellea genus)
« Reply #15 on: May 04, 2015, 08:22:27 AM »
Ok so after abit of digging I was able to come up with the below list.
These are all the edible I could find.
Am I missing any?
Any stand out for being easy to grow or extra tasty?

Vasconcellea candicans
Vasconcellea cauliflora
Vasconcellea crassipetala
Vasconcellea goudotiana
Vasconcellea microcarpa
Vasconcellea monoica
Vasconcellea palandensis
Vasconcellea parviflora
Vasconcellea pubescens
Vasconcellea quercifolia (hardiest?)
Vasconcellea sphaerocarpa
Vasconcellea stipulata (hardiest?)
Vasconcellea weberbaueri
Vasconcellea x heilbornii


Some other Carica relatives very interesting:

Jarilla heterophylla

Jacaratia mexicana
Jacaratia spinosa
Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet.
-Jean-Jacques Rousseau

Daniel R

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Re: Highland papayas (Vasconcellea genus)
« Reply #16 on: May 06, 2015, 03:47:36 PM »
I have been quite intrigued with vasconcellea(s), but never have chance to taste the fruit, can you all share your experience about the taste and aroma of the fruit, especially in relation to papaya? Thanks.
Tuckee
I have tried only two species, quercifolia and goudotiana. Quercifolia has small fruit, but is tasty and sweet. But once you remove seeds there is not much left that you can eat. Gaudotiana has bigger fruit and pulp has very nice aroma, but rest of the fruit doesn't taste good nor sweet. You would probably have to process it in some way to make it more palatable (like cooking fruit with sugar).

Daniel R

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Re: Highland papayas (Vasconcellea genus)
« Reply #17 on: May 06, 2015, 04:02:21 PM »
Ok so after abit of digging I was able to come up with the below list.
These are all the edible I could find.
Am I missing any?
Any stand out for being easy to grow or extra tasty?

Vasconcellea candicans
Vasconcellea cauliflora
Vasconcellea crassipetala
Vasconcellea goudotiana
Vasconcellea microcarpa
Vasconcellea monoica
Vasconcellea palandensis
Vasconcellea parviflora
Vasconcellea pubescens
Vasconcellea quercifolia (hardiest?)
Vasconcellea sphaerocarpa
Vasconcellea stipulata (hardiest?)
Vasconcellea weberbaueri
Vasconcellea x heilbornii


Some other Carica relatives very interesting:

Jarilla heterophylla

Jacaratia mexicana
Jacaratia spinosa
As you know there are 21 (?) species of VAsconcellea and your list has only 14 species. As far as I know majority are edible. But information on most of them is so scarce it's miracle if you can even find pictures. For some of them you can't find pictures.
-monoica stands out because it it's monoiecious
-parviflora has purple flowers
-pubescense has tasty fruits once they are cooked with some sugar
-Babaco is already being commercialized
-according to my information paladensis also has nice tasting fruit, but I haven't tried it yet
-quercifolia is supposed to be hardiest but not according to my experience. But i haven't tested it sufficiently, so i will postpone my judgment until it can be tested more.
-some of species are also resistant to diseases afflicting common papaya and are as such interesting as breeding material
There are some others that might have interesting fruit (werbaueri, sphaerocarpa, stipulata) but there is almost no information available on them so who knows. Best way would be if we could try fruit ourselves, but good luck finding seeds or plants.

renatus

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Re: Highland papayas (Vasconcellea genus)
« Reply #18 on: March 26, 2017, 02:24:43 PM »
hi i wonder if any one as some  extra seeds. im looking for Vasconcellea goudotiana ? plz im located in portugal. the only tree availabe was in ebay long time ago and now no seeds seem to be available. if anyone knows were i can by is also fine :)

Stomata

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Re: Highland papayas (Vasconcellea genus)
« Reply #19 on: January 13, 2023, 08:32:42 PM »
Has anyone had success growing papaya relatives in humid subtropics?

elouicious

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Re: Highland papayas (Vasconcellea genus)
« Reply #20 on: January 13, 2023, 09:10:43 PM »
Ben Kamm of sacredsucculents.com has had success with several of them in the Bay Area

FloridaManDan

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Re: Highland papayas (Vasconcellea genus)
« Reply #21 on: January 13, 2023, 09:49:22 PM »
Has anyone had success growing papaya relatives in humid subtropics?

My Jarilla chocola were doing great; I germinated in late fall but when the temp dropped to ~37F a few weeks ago, they stunted.
So I traded em out for Royal Star papaya. J. chocola should be hardy to zone 9b though, may have a couple spare seeds if intersted.

 

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