Thanks for clarifying that these are two entirely different fruits. Your detailed article makes me want to plant one, but that would be silly before I decide if I'd eat it. I've never seen pawpaw at the store. I guess I should look for one, try it and then decide it it's a tree/fruit that belongs on my garden. But you got me almost convinced to grow one, lol.
Yes, "they" say that the name came from an outward resemblance of pawpaw fruit to papaya fruit.
I try not to be like the vendors who make you want to plant everything they sell. But hey, I can't help it, if the virtues outnumber the vices of the plant.
I was just re reading the cultural requirements of the tree and see that its does best in zone 5 to 8 due to needing 400 'chill hours' to break dormancy. I'm not sure how that works, but in zone 9 I think you better ask that question before buying. LOL. I have also been really curious about this thing--I think I found ripe fruit in Southern Maryland years ago, but its a two hour drive back there so I haven't gone to look lately.
Peterson Pawpaws is a big name in the business. Kentucky State U has tons of information. Good luck and thanks for commenting!
Looking around on the web for pawpaw recipes last year, I discovered that in Australia, pawpaw is a name they commonly use for papaya (and I doubt most Australians have ever heard of the native American fruit!). So it's not surprising there's a lot of name confusion.