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Flower & Ruler

 

The Pawpaw (Asimina Triloba) is a fruit tree native to North America, high in protein and Vitamin C. The large fruit is in the custard apple family (Annonaceae), and has a soft, creamy texture. The taste is banana-like, with hints of mango, melon, papaya, and other flavors. Pawpaw leaf, bark, and twig tissues produce natural compounds that have anti-cancer and insecticidal properties. Wine and beer can be made from pawpaws. They generally grow in USDA zones 5-8. They are naturally disease and pest resistant, with no need for spraying. The maroon flowers are large and showy, and the leaves turn a striking yellow in fall.

Pawpaws will grow in full sun, to part shade, with seedlings and new transplants preferring light shade, and mature, fruit bearing trees doing best in full sun. They prefer deep, well-drained, slightly acid soil, with plenty of moisture, though established trees are quite drought tolerant.

Pawpaws come in three ways: cultivars, seedlings of cultivars (SOC), and seedlings. The cultivars have names. Sunflower, Davis, Rebecca's Gold, and Overleese are just a few examples. The cultivars with names are most likely grafted and trees with the same names are genetically identical. So, the cultivars growth, habit, and fruit are basically identical.

Because they are identical and they are not self-pollinating, 2 different named varieties are necessary in order for the trees to bare fruit. Grafted trees are usually preferred due to the predictability of the plants and the fruit. Grafted trees will begin flowering and fruiting in about 2 to 3 years.

The seedlings of cultivars are seeds taken from cultivars and rooted. Research indicates that the SOC's are about 80% true to form of the parent, so the growth, habit, and fruit are very similar to the parent, but different enough that they can pollinize one another.

The seedlings are seeds harvested from unidentified plants, and they can vary from tree to tree. Seedlings from high quality fruit can also produce good fruit, but taste can vary greatly from one seedling to another. From seed, trees will begin flowering and fruiting in 4 to 8 years, depending on seed quality, planting location, care, and genetics.

The fruit ripens in August-September. It is ready to eat when it gives slightly when squeezed, is aromatic, and can be easily picked.

 

 

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