The Q&A Archives: Pawpaw Tree

Question: I understand that there is a tree called the PawPaw. What does it look like? What is the average size? I have heard you can harvest 2 types of fruit from this tree, is that true? Does it grow in New England?

Answer: Pawpaw, Asimina triloba, is a great native tree that unfortunately is not planted very often. Sometimes called the Indiana Banana tree because of its fruit, it is a good source of wildlife food in natural settings. The reddish-purple flowers appear early before it leafs out, and a small banana-like fruit ripens later in summer. Native Americans and early settlers enjoyed its sweet-pungent taste. Growing an average 20 feet tall, it has interesting droopy leaves, and has a tendency to sucker creating small groves at the edge of a woods, creating a interesting effect. Pawpaws prefer part shade as an undertory tree, but will grow in full sun, if the soil is moist and well-drained. Slightly acidic soil if preferable. Because of a long tap root, large plants are difficult to transplant. Although a single tree will produce fruit, better fruiting results with cross pollinations from several trees. The twigs have been shown to be a natural insecticide for a wide variety of pests. It is also interesting to not that an extract from this tree is being studied as a cancer-treatment. Try this web site for more information Hardy in Zones 5-9, you should be able to grow it in a sheltered spot. Difficult to find, check specialty sources for this tree. Locally try:
Tripple Brook Farm
Stephen Breyer
37 Middle Rd
Southampton, MA 01073
(413) 527-4626

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