University of Maryland Extension

Pawpaw

Author: 
Text by Ellen Nibali Photo by Barbara Nibali

Asimina triloba

Wouldn’t you know America’s largest native fruit would be exceptional? The green or yellow pawpaw fruit, ripening in September-October, has the startling flavor of bananas, plus undertones of vanilla, pineapple and mango. The 1-2 ½” mauvey-purple flowers start female and then go male. And germinating seedlings are killed by direct sunlight, yet later enjoy sun. Pawpaws grow to about 25 feet, with large leaves that turn clear yellow foliage in fall. In the wild, these understory trees form thickets, but in home landscapes lawnmowers stop that.  Plant in slightly acid, well-drained soil. Because they are not self-fertile, purchase two plants, either two seed grown or two different grafted varieties. Named varieties produce the best fruit quality.

 

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