Only the female papaya bears edible fruit, and the only way to tell a male from a female is by the tree’s blossoms. The male’s flowers bloom on long racemes that are lovely in arrangements. The female’s single flattened bell-shaped blossoms appear above the leaf joints just before the fruit begins to form. There are also bisex papayas, which have both kinds of flowers, and will bear fruit. The significance of all this is that if you try to grow papaya trees from seeds, you won’t know until they blossom whether they’re papayas or mamayas.
—The Art of South Florida Gardening 9781561643936