be propagated and commercialized. One, the babaco (see later), is already entering international trade.
Creating new fruits. Highland papayas are fascinating “raw materials” from which new fruits can be created. Given their great variability and the fact that many are interfertile, the opportunities for generating new taste combinations are immense. Horticulturists in several South American countries, as well as in New Zealand, Australia, Taiwan, Singapore, Italy, and Israel, are now exploring such crosses.
Extending the range of papaya cultivation. These Andean cousins come from subtropical areas with elevations up to 3,000 m. Their genetic endowment for cold resistance could be of great significance: adding a few degrees of cold adaptability could expand enormously the world's production of, and appreciation for, common papayas.2 They might, for instance, result in papayas that are suited to subtropical regions (such as Southern California and the shores of the Mediterranean) where commercial papaya cultivation is now impossible.3
Improving papaya production. The tropical papaya is plagued by pests. Genes from highland papayas have already been effectively employed in creating cultivars for regions where diseases (especially viruses) and pests (such as fruit flies) now restrict papaya cultivation, but more genetic benefits remain to be tapped.
The following pages highlight six promising Andean highland papayas (four species and two hybrids).
Chamburo. From Panama to Chile and Argentina, the chamburo5 (Carica pubescens 6 ) is commonly found around mountain villages. It