Babaco is related to the papaya. Babaco is native to the Andes of northwestern South America from Colombia south to central Chile. The fruit grows in bunches on the stem of the babaco tree. The skin is yellow and the fruit has juicy yellow flesh without seeds. The taste is fresh and sweet and can be defined as a combination of strawberry and melon. The fruits are smaller than the papaya, broad pear-shaped, blunt and more aromatic than the papaya.
The babaco plant can produce from 30–60 fruits annually, and has an average life span of about eight years.
It is a small, unbranched or sparsely branched tree reaching 5–8 m tall. The fruit differs from the related papaya in being narrower, typically less than 10 cm in diameter. The babaco fruit is seedless and the smooth skin can be eaten, and is said to have tastes of strawberry, papaya, kiwi and pineapple. The fruit is pentagonal in shape, therefore giving it the scientific name of Carica pentagona. The fruit is not especially acidic, but contains papain, a proteolytic enzyme, which may cause mild irritation or "burns".
Like the papaya, the babaco is grown for its edible fruit and for its fruit juice. Cultivation away from its native range has been successful as far south as New Zealand, and as far north as California, some regions of England, Guernsey, Channel Islands, and somewhat also in Italy.