The northernmost representative of the otherwise tropical fruit family, Annonaceae, pawpaw is beloved for its interesting foliage and odd-tasting, edible fruit. The native distribution of this small tree is from the very southernmost reaches of Ontario, Canada, south to Florida, and westward to Texas. Natural populations inhabit bottomlands, floodplains and ravines. This species is quite common in many areas of the country but is listed as a species of concern in others.
Large, oval leaves with pointed tips alternate each other on slender branches of pawpaw. The leaves are medium to deep green and turn yellow to orangish red in fall. New twig growth is covered with coppery hairs. Pawpaw bears flowers on the previous year’s wood. These emerge in spring before (or just as) the new leaves emerge. The blooms are sometimes borne in groups. Each is nodding, cup-shaped, maroon or purple-brown and has a foul smell. This fetid odor attracts flies and beetles, which pollinate the self-infertile flowers.
Pawpaw bears some of the largest edible fruit of any other native North American tree. They have a thick, greenish skin than gives on the surface when they are ripe. The yellow, custard-like flesh inside is soft and has many large, dark brown seeds embedding within. Some say it tastes like banana crossed with a pineapple, while others say it tastes like old, somewhat fetid bananas. The fruits may cause stomach problems in some people.
Pawpaw saplings grow best when planted in filtered sun, while older trees grow and produce best in sunny or partially sunny sites. They grow well in a variety of moist soils with moderately good drainage. Pruning is rarely necessary except to remove dead or damaged wood. These are ideal trees for home orchards and landscapes as well as natural areas and native woodland gardens.
This can be a difficult tree to propagate. The seeds require a long period of cool stratification (extended exposure to cool, moist conditions) before they will germinate. Stem cuttings have proven mostly unsuccessful though papaw grafts well. This species tends to produce many root suckers, but they do not transplant well. All pawpaws require gentle handling and a long period of adjustment to survive transplanting. (Info source: Learn2grow)
Edible fruit - raw or cooked. A very good size, it can be up to 16cm long and 4cm wide. Of variable quality, some forms (with orange skins) are exquisite with the flavour of banana custard whilst others (with yellow, white or dark brown skins) can be unpleasant. Another report says that the white fruits are mildly flavoured and later ripening than the orange fruits. The fruit can also be used for making preserves, pies, ice cream and other sweet desserts. The fruit falls from the tree in autumn and is then stored until fully ripe. The fruit can cause gastro-intestinal upsets for some people.
Genus - Asimina
Species - Triloba
Common name - Pawpaw
Pre-Treatment - Required
Hardiness zones - 6 - 8
Height - 15-40' / 4,60 - 12 m
Spread - 15-20' / 4,60 - 6 m
Plant type - Large Shrub / Tree
Vegetation type - Deciduous
Exposure - Full Sun, Partial Sun, Partial Shade
Growth rate - Medium
Soil PH - Acidic, Neutral
Soil type - Clay, Loam, Sand
Water requirements - Average Water
Landscape uses - Edible, Feature Plant, Fruit / Fruit Tree, Mixed Border, Shade Trees
Bloom season - Early Spring, Spring
Leaf / Flower color - Green / Purple
|Germination||Soak in water for 24 hours.|
Moisten a handful of sphagnum peat moss and place it in a plastic bag. Add the pawpaw seeds to the bag with sphagnum peat moss. Close and store the bag in the refrigerator for 60-90 days. Check the peat's moisture level once or twice a week. Sprinkle with water if it begins to dry.
Fill 14- to 18-in.-deep tree planters with seed-starter mix. Deep pots are necessary to accommodate the pawpaw's 10-in.-long taproots. Use one container per seed. Leave a 1/4 inch of space between the pot's rim and the soil surface.
Irrigate the seeds at planting until water flows out of the pot's drainage holes. The seeds will germinate and begin to grow long taproots within three weeks.
Pawpaw seeds can take quite awhile to get started. They first send out a root, and several weeks later the shoot emerges.
The pawpaw seedlings break through the surface two months after you sow the seeds. Keep the soil mix moist throughout this period.