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PlantFiles: Pawpaw
Asimina triloba

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Family: Annonaceae
Genus: Asimina (a-SEE-mee-nuh) (Info)
Species: triloba (try-LO-buh) (Info)

15 vendors have this plant for sale.

86 members have or want this plant for trade.

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Category:
Edible Fruits and Nuts
Trees

Height:
15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)

Spacing:
15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)

Hardiness:
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun

Danger:
Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:
Maroon (Purple-Brown)

Bloom Time:
Late Spring/Early Summer

Foliage:
Deciduous

Other details:
Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings

Soil pH requirements:
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:
Non-patented

Propagation Methods:
By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)
From herbaceous stem cuttings
From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall
Scarify seed before sowing
By grafting

Seed Collecting:
Remove fleshy coating on seeds before storing
Allow unblemished fruit to ripen; clean and dry seeds
Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored

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There are a total of 45 photos.
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Profile:

9 positives
12 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

RatingAuthorContent
Neutral coriaceous On Mar 3, 2014, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

The species produces fruit of highly variable quality, sometimes barely palatable. If you want to grow pawpaws for fruit, there are over a dozen commercially available cultivars selected for their superior fruit. Cultivars are budded on seedling understock, not grown by seed.

Fruiting is best in full sun, but young shoots are very sun-sensitive and benefit from shading the first couple of years.

Fruiting normally begins when trees reach about 6', generally about 5-7 years.

This tree normally can't pollinate itself. To get fruit, you need at least two genetically different trees. Native pollinators are not very efficient, and pollinating with a paintbrush can increase fruit set.

Dirr say this species is hardy to Z5.

Positive Cindy_Rae On Jul 24, 2011, Cindy_Rae from Kansas City, MO (Zone 6a) wrote:

My grandaddy found several pawpaws growing in the woods across the street. Loving trees, he dug one up and brought it home (along with a black walnut, black locust and an oak!). That was about 35 yrs ago. Grandaddy's gone now-grandma too, but I still have his trees (yes,I still live in the same house). They were planted in a semi-raised rock bed under a couple of maples and are still doing well to this day. We now have 5 additional trees that have grown up from that original. We don't water any of them or do anything to them, never have. They grow just fine and produce lots of fruit every year all on their own.
We use the fruit in place of bananas in bread, pies and other things...that is, when we beat the coons, opossums, deer and squirrels! Here on the northeast boundary of Kansas City (right by the Missouri river) the fruit are ready in about August depending on the weather we've had. Sometimes beginning of the month, mid-month and on occasion, late month. I do like them best while they're still a little firm so I pick them a little early. They have a custard like texture that isn't quite as soft, but only slightly, if you pick them earlier. I don't much care for the skin so when I eat one by itself I scoop out the pulp with a spoon like some folks do with grapefruit. I don't eat too many by themselves though-gotta save some for baking!
It seems so odd to me how most people I talk to have no idea what a pawpaw is..since I grew up with them, but when they try one, most people want more. Good thing I have 6 trees!

Neutral Saviera On Mar 1, 2011, Saviera from Savannah, GA wrote:

Just bought 5 rootstocks of Native Pawpaw from Tenessee about 12-15" long. They have very little root system (pretty well cut-off them) when I received them in mail order. I put them in the pot with good potting soil. It;s more than 1 month now and the weather is getting steadily warmed-up here in Savannah, Ga area, but there is no sign of breaking dormancy yet or any sign of budding. Still just 5 brown sticks. Anyone has the solutions? Are they still alive? Should I cut the tip of the branch to find out? Please let me know. I have ordered 3 more from other sellers. Really intrigue about this plant since I loved custard apple from my childhood... Thanks beforehand for any info.

Positive 4dexters On Oct 11, 2010, 4dexters from Northfield, MA wrote:

We live in Northfield MA 01360 and have just picked our first fruits..all 2 of them. We had three, now 2 trees ut this is the first year any flowwered, and only 1. So it is minimally self-fertile. It could be we are the most northeast of any pawpaw?

Don

Positive iam_utopia On Aug 18, 2010, iam_utopia from Beamsville, ON (Zone 7a) wrote:

Our Pawpaw trees are six years old. This is the first year that they have had flower buds and sure enough we have fruit. The past two years, I have been able to purchase a few fruits locally, but they were ready there in the Niagara-on the-Lake area the 2nd or 3rd week of October. Our fruit-bearing tree here in Beamsville, ON had a fruit fall off in a wind storm on August 16th. We waited a day then ate it. Wonderful tasting, orange coloured fruit (inside) with only 6 seeds. Pawpaw fruit ready to eat in MID-AUGUST!?! Wow. What a beauty of a year we're having.
My Asimina triloba are plants... from what I hear cuttings will never take, and rarely will root cuttings.
I have two local sources. A natural prolific stand I have named 'Gloria' after the property owner in Virgil Ontario. The second, which I feel is a tastier fruit, is 'Grimo' named after its property owner in Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON. Oh and those growing from the trees I have here, which have been the tastiest and EARLIEST of all... I have not named, but then again I have no seedlings left from those fruits.
As far as recognised names, like 'Davis', no. These are unspecified. Which is why I have sourced locally and continue to search for local separate natural stands of trees. As well this is why I have noted their differences and kept them named and separated. I am at the absolute northern natural range of this plant, so far as I know, so far as I know in terms of natural stands.

Positive brwnails On Jun 21, 2010, brwnails from Riverside, IL wrote:

Our neighbor has 4, very old paw paw trees between our houses. Around 25ft tall. We're zone 5a, just west of Chicago.

Positive TheLoud On Mar 22, 2010, TheLoud from Atlanta, GA (Zone 8a) wrote:

Some of the info on this page is wrong. Pawpaws grow here in zone 5. Also, the seeds cannot be dried, or they die. They must be planted immediately after being removed from the fruit. To ship, they can be packed in damp material so they will survive and maybe start sprouting on the way.
The cultivated varieties taste at least as good as a cherimoya, but the wild ones are variable.

Neutral WUVIE On Jun 2, 2009, WUVIE from Hulbert, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

We planted a number of Paw Paws several years ago when
they were just seedlings. The first two years we had to keep shade
screens on them, or they completely burned up with the Oklahoma summer sun.

This year, they are braving the elements all grown up. Naturally, they thrive with regular water, putting on new leaves and growing taller by the day! Well, it seems that way, anyhow. We can't wait until they mature and bear fruit.

Paw Paws have long taproots, thus the difficulty in digging them up for transplant.

If you grow Paw Paw, take care of it. :-)

Update 04-12-2010. Hubby cut off a few small extra limbs on our Paw Paw and stuck them in a bucket. I mistook them for cuttings to propagate. Sure enough, they took and took well. We are very excited to have learned they are easy cuttings!

Neutral transplant2nc On Jun 20, 2007, transplant2nc from Concord, NC wrote:

We have one pawpaw purchased as a 2 foot seedling that's been completely neglected. It continues to grow and do well in a shady area and is now 7 feet tall, but we've never had any flowers. A second seedling of a different variety died. I realize we need a second pawpaw for cross pollination if we want fruit, but is it worth purchasing one if our current more mature pawpaw never flowers anyway? These small seedlings were $200 each about 8 years ago.

Positive yarily_holp On Jun 2, 2007, yarily_holp from Philadelphia, PA (Zone 6b) wrote:

In nature, this tree is usually found in thickets, very nice to walk through with all the big dangling leaves (for identification -- they grow alternately on the stem, and are narrower on the end where they attach). It's an understory tree so is shade tolerant, and it doesn't get that tall, maybe 25 feet at the most(?). It seems to take quite a while to get big enough to flower/fruit. There are several cultivars available and it is good to get a few different ones for cross-pollination.

Neutral Lily_love On Mar 28, 2007, Lily_love from Central, AL (Zone 7b) wrote:

I have heard of the tree, seen it in NorthEast Al. region. I've a what appears like that of pawpaw in my back yard, but haven't had it positively identified. I ordered two of these bareroot tree from mail-or-nursery. They sent me two 4' long trees with long taproot but no feeder rootlets? I potted them in big pots, kept water well, and they have not shown any sign of breaking dormancy?

Positive frostweed On Dec 1, 2006, frostweed from Josephine, Arlington, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

Pawpaw Asimina triloba is native to Texas and other States.

Neutral raisedbedbob On Feb 3, 2006, raisedbedbob from Walkerton, VA (Zone 7a) wrote:

Pawpaws are native to this region though not common. They are generally found in rich deciduous forests. I find the fruit not nearly as good as described in the literature.

Neutral joegee On Jan 22, 2006, joegee from Bucyrus, OH (Zone 6a) wrote:

Locally this plant loves moist, wooded river bottoms, where it can be found in abundance. It seems to prefer rich, loamy soil, and lots of water.

Flowers in spring are followed by fruit in mid to late autumn, the first teen weekend in October here in Ohio. The fruit is harvested when it begins to drop from the trees. Some folks claim they taste best after the first frost, but by my experience they've all been eaten by animals by that time. To me the flavor is reminiscent of an overly-ripe banana. The texture is similar to custard, but look out for the big bean-shaped seeds. I prefer to peel my pawpaws, because the skin is tough, and not particularly nice-tasting. The first wild paw paw is always delicious. By the time I'm into my second one, I remember why it is I only like to eat one paw paw (to me, as I eat more they grow increasingly bitter and musky flavored.) I cannot eat three in one sitting.

As others have mentioned, the leaves are very large, and these understory trees top out at twenty feet or so, with gangly trunks at max eight to ten inches in circumference. The foliage gives off a musky scent when bruised. Plant two for cross-pollination.

The named cultivars claim better flavor. I haven't tried any of them, but where one grows, all will grow.

If you have an area of your yard that's low, and shaded, and want tropical-looking foliage every summer, and racoons and deer in the autumn, plant a paw paw patch.

Neutral MotherNature4 On Jan 1, 2005, MotherNature4 from Bartow, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

This species is found in the central Panhandle of Florida, but doesn't usually extend into the peninsula.

Neutral Shadyfolks On Dec 31, 2004, Shadyfolks from Chesterland, OH (Zone 5b) wrote:

We grow this tree in Z5

Neutral lmelling On Dec 31, 2004, lmelling from Ithaca, NY (Zone 5b) wrote:

Our neighbor has several Pawpaw trees on her property and she dug several suckers a few years ago and brought them to us to plant. However, although they had some root system, they obviously didn't have enough and died very soon thereafter - even with care.

After reading the information above, perhaps we'll try again next year but either from a nursery, or by making sure there is a better root system in place and doing what Hogwaump describes.

Positive carolmac7 On Jan 16, 2004, carolmac7 from Lake Charles, LA wrote:

In "The Southern Gardener's Book of Lists", the Pawpaw tree is listed as a host plant for the Zebra swallowtail butterfly.

Positive Hogwaump On Nov 6, 2003, Hogwaump from Rosedale, WV (Zone 7b) wrote:

Pawpaws are difficult to transplant form the wild, but it can be accomplished. Follow the roots as far as is possible - I like to get at least 2 feet on either side of the plant. Use moisture crystals and sphagnum in the planting mix and remove all leaves.

Can be propagated from root cuttings, but they must be larger than 1/2" diameter and about 1' long, harvested in winter while tree is dormant.

Can be propagated from cuttings, but only cuttings of very young suckers will form roots.

Neutral smiln32 On Aug 31, 2001, smiln32 from Oklahoma City, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

Easily grown in average, medium wet to wet, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Prefers moist, acidic, fertile soils. Will grow in shade but becomes leggy.

Neutral Chooch On Nov 8, 2000, Chooch from Chatham-Kent, ON (Zone 6a) wrote:

USDA Z5 ; it's an easy to grow ornamental tree with a tropical appearance. It has interesting flowers that are up to two inches across and produces delicious fruit that tastes like a cross between bananas and vanilla custard . It has a vitamin content that rivals citrus .Paw paws are typically small trees ( 25 feet tall or less ). Several trees should be planted as most are self-infertile.

Regional...

This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

, (2 reports)
Vincent, Alabama
Booneville, Arkansas
Fayetteville, Arkansas
Morrilton, Arkansas
Fremont, California
Rodney Village, Delaware
Hampton, Florida
Cordele, Georgia
Cornelia, Georgia
Pooler, Georgia
Glen Ellyn, Illinois
Macomb, Illinois
North Riverside, Illinois
Waukegan, Illinois
Georgetown, Indiana
Homecroft, Indiana
Oak Park, Indiana
Lawrence, Kansas
Overland Park, Kansas
Barbourville, Kentucky
Benton, Kentucky
Louisville, Kentucky
North Corbin, Kentucky
Mandeville, Louisiana
Port Vincent, Louisiana
Falmouth, Maine
Kemp Mill, Maryland
Potomac, Maryland
Valley Lee, Maryland
Northfield, Massachusetts
Roslindale, Massachusetts
Owosso, Michigan
Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota
Marietta, Mississippi
Waynesboro, Mississippi
Brunswick, Missouri
Kansas City, Missouri
Lincoln, Nebraska
Bernardsville, New Jersey
Morris Plains, New Jersey
Buffalo, New York
Cayuga Heights, New York
Roslyn, New York
Stamford, New York
Concord, North Carolina
Elizabeth City, North Carolina
Raleigh, North Carolina (2 reports)
Salisbury, North Carolina
Blacklick, Ohio
Bucyrus, Ohio
Chesterland, Ohio
Glouster, Ohio
Bartlesville, Oklahoma
Hulbert, Oklahoma
Tangent, Oregon
Greencastle, Pennsylvania
Laflin, Pennsylvania
Millersburg, Pennsylvania
Morrisville, Pennsylvania
Royersford, Pennsylvania
Simpsonville, South Carolina
Centertown, Tennessee
Clarksville, Tennessee
Morrison, Tennessee
Nashville, Tennessee
Viola, Tennessee
Austin, Texas
Dalworthington Gardens, Texas
Fairchilds, Texas
Watauga, Texas
Culpeper, Virginia
Lexington, Virginia
Richmond, Virginia
Quilcene, Washington
Seattle, Washington
Walla Walla, Washington
Liberty, West Virginia
Rosedale, West Virginia
La Farge, Wisconsin
Madison, Wisconsin



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