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I will be planting Papaya fruit seeds and I understand that there is a female and a male plant, so how can one distinguish which are the ones that will bear fruit and which I should just rip up by its roots as I have limited planting space?

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  • $\begingroup$ @chrisstronks hermaphrodite should be added to the title. $\endgroup$ – dustin Jan 16 '15 at 4:31
  • $\begingroup$ @dustin - I will leave that to PO, or you are welcome to edi the question! $\endgroup$ – AliceD Jan 16 '15 at 4:33
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Male flowers have no ovary and do not produce a fruit but females need to be pollinated or the fruits will be aborted falling off when they are about golf ball size (1). Therefore, you will need at least one male or hermaphrodite plant with your female plants so you can manually pollinate the female plants. Also, note that hermaphrodites can pollinate themselves so you will not need another one or a male for fruit.

The article goes on to say that hermaphrodites are the preferred type but under certain circumstances a hermaphrodite can shift to a female.

Cool winter weather or high soil moisture can lead to a shift toward femaleness, where the stamens fuse to the carpels or ovary wall. The re­ sulting fruits become severely ridged (carpelloid, or “cat­ faced”) and hence are deformed and unmarketable (1).

enter image description here

Home gardeners should take steps to avoid having only a single papaya plant, in case it turns out to be a female. One way to accomplish this is have several plants in the garden, to ensure the possibility that at least one will be a hermaphrodite with pollen. If space is limited, allow several seedlings to grow to flowering stage in the same planting spot, and then remove all but the healthiest her­maphrodite plant (1).

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    $\begingroup$ that was the fastest answer ever.... $\endgroup$ – AliceD Jan 16 '15 at 4:27
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    $\begingroup$ @ChrisStronks I am used to math.SX. If you aren't fast, the the question will have 10 different answers before you even develop your approach. $\endgroup$ – dustin Jan 16 '15 at 4:29
  • $\begingroup$ but you don't really answer how the PO can differentiate between the (wanted) females and (unwanted) males. $\endgroup$ – AliceD Jan 16 '15 at 4:31
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    $\begingroup$ A question about the answer...dustin, you say that "hermaphrodites can't pollinate themselves" but the picture text describes the hermaphrodite as "self-fertile"...it sounds like as if it is saying that the hermaphrodite can fertilize its own self, or am I reading it wrong? $\endgroup$ – x457812 Jan 16 '15 at 4:32
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    $\begingroup$ @ChrisStronks the answer is in the picture on how to differentiate. $\endgroup$ – dustin Jan 16 '15 at 4:32

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