Pawpaw (Asimina triloba) in the Pawpaws Database

Common names:
Give a thumbs up Pawpaw
Give a thumbs up Common Paw Paw
Give a thumbs up Banango
Give a thumbs up Ozark Banana
Give a thumbs up Missouri Banana
Give a thumbs up Poor Man's Banana
Give a thumbs up Kansas Banana
Give a thumbs up Michigan Banana
Give a thumbs up West Virginia Banana
Give a thumbs up Wild Banana
Give a thumbs up American Custard Apple
Give a thumbs up Indiana Banana
Give a thumbs up Hoosier Banana
Give a thumbs up Prairie Banana
Give a thumbs up Papaw
Give a thumbs up Indian Banana

General Plant Information (Edit)
Plant Habit: Shrub
Tree
Life cycle: Perennial
Sun Requirements: Full Sun to Partial Shade
Partial or Dappled Shade
Water Preferences: Mesic
Soil pH Preferences: Slightly acid (6.1 – 6.5)
Neutral (6.6 – 7.3)
Slightly alkaline (7.4 – 7.8)
Minimum cold hardiness: Zone 5a -28.9 °C (-20 °F) to -26.1 °C (-15 °F)
Maximum recommended zone: Zone 8b
Plant Height: 15 to 35 feet, but can grow to 45 to 60 feet
Plant Spread: 15 to 30 feet
Leaves: Good fall color
Deciduous
Malodorous
Fruit: Showy
Edible to birds
Fruiting Time: Late summer or early fall
Flowers: Malodorous
Other: 6 petal, 1.5 inch wide, solitary, red-brown flowers
Flower Color: Purple
Red
Multi-Color: Purple to maroon to brown
Other: red-purple or maroon
Bloom Size: 1"-2"
Flower Time: Spring
Uses: Erosion control
Shade Tree
Will Naturalize
Edible Parts: Fruit
Wildlife Attractant: Birds
Butterflies
Resistances: Deer Resistant
Rabbit Resistant
Propagation: Seeds: Self fertile
Stratify seeds: 90-120 days
Propagation: Other methods: Cuttings: Root
Other: root suckers, grafting and budding techniques
Miscellaneous: Monoecious

note the color change

Most Popular Trees in the NorthMost Popular Trees in the North
July 10, 2014

Which trees are the most popular in the Northern regions of the United States? Let's find out!

(Full article6 comments)
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Comments:
Posted by jmorth (central Illinois) on Nov 8, 2011 11:19 PM

Fruit is quite edible, ..Matter of fact: chilled fruit was a dessert favorite of George Washington. Ripens in late Aug, early Sept. Has a sweet custard-ish flavor similar to banana, mango, & cantaloupe. Unfortunately, it has a very short shelf-life. I believe it is North America's largest indigenous edible fruit.
Fruits should manifest in tree's 6th or 7th year.
Native to eastern North America and the Midwest.
It is a patch-forming (clonal) understory tree found in well drained, deep, fertile bottomland and hilly upland habitats.

Young trees are susceptible to sun damage the first 2 years. To remedy that I planted Kong Sunflowers in the same area I planted 2 trees. These sunflowers grow so tall so fast, they performed an admiral job of shade protection. Being self seeders, the sunflowers returned to fulfill said duty the following year.

It's been 6 years and I'm still waiting...Flowered and fruited years 7 and 8. (Updated fall 2013).

Another positive about the Paw Paw is that it is the exclusive food source for the larvae of the Zebra Swallowtail butterfly. By consuming paw paw the butterflies ingest a chemical that makes them unpalatable to birds and other predators.

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Posted by SongofJoy (Clarksville, TN - Zone 6b) on Nov 10, 2011 4:34 AM

Pollination can be a limiting factor in fruit set of Pawpaws as they are thought to be self-incompatible. Two or more genetically different trees are needed for best chance of a good crop.

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Posted by Sharon (Calvert City, KY - Zone 7a) on Nov 9, 2011 5:49 PM

The seeds of the pawpaw are large, as much as an inch long, with a brown leathery appearance.

The fruit is not ripe until its outer covering is very dark colored, much like an overripe banana. Inside it's a golden yellow fleshy fruit and delicious with its near tropical flavor. It can also be made into sweet custards and eaten as a flavorful dessert.

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Posted by ILPARW (southeast Pennsylvania - Zone 6b) on Jan 17, 2018 3:46 PM

Usually a small understory tree in upland woods or fields from southern Pennsylvania down through northern Georgia and central Alabama & Mississippi, areas of Louisiana and far east Texas up in eastern Kansas & southeast Nebraska to along the Mississippi between Iowa & Illinois through southern Michigan into the tip of southern Ontario and all around Lake Erie. I have seen it in the wild in just some localized areas, not spread out everywhere. It grows about 1 foot/year and lives about 150 years. Its root system produces deep, coarse lateral roots so transplanting is sort of difficult, best done in early spring. It is a very interesting sort of tropical-looking tree with a large, delicious fruit tasting like banana. A few people grow it in their yard for its fruit. The only landscapes that I have seen it used are in arboretums and botanical gardens; it should be used more as an ornamental tree. A few large, diverse nurseries, a good number of mail order nurseries, and some native plant nurseries sell it.

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Posted by jmorth (central Illinois) on Dec 22, 2015 5:59 PM

Pawpaw name originated with Arawakan Indians.

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Plant Events from our members
jmorth On September 23, 2014 Fruit Ripened
1st fruit fall ... signal of edibility
jmorth On May 2, 2013 Bloomed
Date based on personal photo record.
jmorth On August 28, 2012 Harvested
Taste is assuredly different. Custard consistency exotic/banana, melon similarities.
For home grown, not bad, not bad at all...
jmorth From August 24, 2012 to September 9, 2012 Fruit Ripened
Took 7 years to flower, fruit, and partake.
jmorth From March 19, 2012 to April 15, 2012 Bloomed
End blooming date is an approximation based on photo records. Waited 7 years for blooming to happen.
jmorth On March 15, 2005 Obtained plant
Purchased two 'saplings' from local Wildflower Association/club at Lincoln Memorial Gardens, Springfield, Il.
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