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Freckles on Papaya
Wayne Nishijima, Extension Plant Pathologist
Department of Plant Pathology
University of Hawaii at Hilo
Freckles are initially noticed as small pinpoint spots on fruits that are half developed. As the fruit matures the spots slowly increase in size up to about 13 mm in diameter. However, the spots usually do not increase beyond 4 mm in diameter. The spots are brown in color, have a reticulated pattern, and may have a water-soaked margin. The centers of large spots may attain a grayish color.
Freckles are usually limited to the exposed surface of the fruit facing away from the stem. They occur throughout the year but appear to be more prevalent during seasons or periods when sunny days prevail. Freckles are superficial and do not affect the flesh and are, therefore, primarily a cosmetic disorder.
Freckles are common on most commercial papaya cultivars. Numerous attempts to isolate pathogens and microscopic examinations of freckles have not linked any organism with this disorder. Fruits that are covered with pollination bags soon after formed remain free of freckles at harvest.
A severe form of this disorder has been observed on the cultivar Sunrise Solo during the dry periods from Brazil, Hawaii and Fiji. Affected fruits have large numbers of freckles that coalesce and cause the fruit surface to appear russetted.
Hine, R.B., Holtzmann, O.V., and Raabe, R.D. 1965. Diseases of papaya (Carica papaya L.) in Hawaii. Hawaii. Agric. Exp. Stn. Bull. 136, Univ. of Hawaii, 26 pp.