Swift to grow and easy to tend to, the Paw Paw is a charming ornamental tree with a pyramidal canopy and pleasing autumnal hues; it is perhaps most loved for its antioxidant-rich fruit.
What distinguishes the lovely Paw Paw?
Fast-growing; comes into full fruition within 5-6 years.
Fantastic fall color (typically sunny gold).
Beautiful flower clusters.
Produces North America’s largest edible native fruit.
Easily cultivated as a tree or shrub.
Keeping up appearances…
Pawpaw trees can grow rapidly in optimal conditions, with seedling trees coming into bearing after about five or six years. Belonging to the botanical family Annonaceae, this deciduous tree’s smooth gray trunk stretches to a modest height of 15-30 ft., with its pyramidal canopy fanning out to a respective 15-30 ft. span. Its leaves are simple, spirally arranged, broad, wedge-shaped, and a cheery green color that darkens with age and eventually alters to sunny autumnal gold.
From April to May, the Pawpaw’s enthralling flowers blossom, splotches of maroon and purple, often in clusters, and with each flower featuring six deeply veined petals. In late summer and early autumn, the ornamental Pawpaw produces North America’s largest edible native fruit, distinguished by its beanlike shape, mottled yellowish-green skin, soft creamy flesh, and an exotic sweet flavor that tastes like a medley of mango and banana (resulting in the fruit’s nicknames of “Custard Apple” and “Indiana Banana”, among others).
A friendly recommendation.
Found in hilly uplands and fertile bottomlands alike, the clonal understory Pawpaw has a 5-9 hardiness zone rating and a penchant for full sun to partial shade. It prospers in medium well-drained soils, and can easily be cultivated as either a tall shrub or small tree.
Awesome tree trivia!
- It is said that the members of the Lewis and Clark expedition in 1806 thanked their lucky stars for the existence of Asimina Triloba—commonly known as the Pawpaw tree—since this plant was what sustained them on their journey through western Missouri when their rations were low and game was scarce.
- Legend has it that the Pawpaw’s fruit was a favorite dessert of George Washington, and this tree was also tenderly cultivated by Thomas Jefferson at his Monticello estate.
- While the tree’s flowers don’t readily attract many pollinators, its fruit is extremely nutritious, high in antioxidants, and can be used in a variety of recipes including bread, pies, muffins, and even ice cream.
This Tree's Zone: 5 to 9
Your Growing Zone:
|Bloom Time||April to May|
|Sun||Full sun to part shade|
|Size||15 to 30 feet|
|Spread||15 to 30 feet|