Wednesday, July 7, 2010


The Asimina ( Pawpaw ) are the epitome of edible yet attractive landscaping. The Pawpaw is also very important to wildlife. The Zebra Swallowtail butterfly depends on the Pawpaw tree for survival. Pawpaws have huge potential as a food crop, especially for home orchards, they can be eaten fresh but also used in the production of wine ( suggested link - )
There is even a Pawpaw festival located in Ohio...

* excellent videos found on internet

Asimina angustifolia ( Narrowleaf Pawpaw )
A very rare, small, deciduous shrub, reaching a maximum height of 6 feet, that is native to Georgia and Florida.
The lance-shaped leaves are up to 8 x 1.5 ( rarely over 6 x 1 ) inches in size. The foliage turns to yellow during late autumn.
The flowers, up to 0.4 inches across, are white.
They are followed by yellow fruits up to 4 inches in length.
Hardy zones 8 to 9 ( based on native range, may prove hardier with testing ) in full sun to partial shade on sandy, very well drained soil. Plants should be kept shaded for the first year, they become more sun tolerant after.

Asimina parviflora ( Dwarf Pawpaw )
A rare native to dry sandy woods from Arkansas to southeast Virginia; south to central Florida. It is smaller in all its parts than Asimina triloba, forming an attractive, moderate growing, large, deciduous shrub, reaching a maximum size of 13 x 6 feet. Some records include: fastest growth rate - 3 feet.
The leaves are obovate up to 8 x 4 ( rarely over 5 ) inches in size.
The yellow flowers are up to 0.6 inches wide.
They are followed by yellow fruits up to 3 inches in length.
Hardy zones 5 to 8, it is very tolerant of heat and drought.

* photos taken on 4th of July 2010 in Washington, D.C.

* photos taken @ U.S. Botanical Garden, Wash., DC on Aug 25 2014

* photos taken on Aug 24 2017 @ U.S. Botanic Garden, Wash. DC.

* historic archive photo

Asimina pygmaea ( Dwarf Pawpaw )
A taprooted, bushy perennial, reaching a maximum height of 20 inches, that is native from Camden County in extreme southern Georgia to central Florida. It is critically endangered and is found on low sand dunes or sandy or peaty Pine-Palmetto savanna or woods in the wild. It is a host plant for the Zebra Swallowtail Butterfly.
The oblanceolate leaves are up to 4.5 ( rarely over 3 ) inches in length. The leathery foliage is bright green.
The reddish-purple flowers, up to 1.2 inches long, appear during early summer.
They are followed by yellowish-green berries, up to 1.2 ( rarely over 0.6 ) inches long. The edible berries are a food source of the Gopher Turtle.
Hardy zones 7a to 10 in full sun on sandy, acidic to neutral, well drained soil. It is very heat and drought tolerant. Reproduction from cuttings is unlikely but it is easy to grow from seed sown outdoors immediately upon ripening during autumn. The seed will send down a taproot during the spring before the plant emerges from the ground.

* historic archive photo

Asimina triloba ( Common Pawpaw )
A major food crop for the North American Native Indians; this tree is no longer common in most of it's native Eastern U.S and is now endangered in Ontario, Canada along the Lake Erie watershed where it grows. In Ontario it was originally native from Grand Bend to Long Point and south..with an isolated occurrence near Niagara Falls. Its natural range is from eastern Nebraska to southern Michigan to western New York State to southeast PA; south to eastern Texas to Georgia. In the Windsor/Essex County, Ontario region; it was abundant along the Canard River Valley, near Colchester, Point Pelee as well as the Lake Erie islands during the has disappeared from most of this area since with exception of a few clonal stands in the Canard River Valley. Most people never heard of the Pawpaw despite its tasty fruit. In addition the Pawpaw makes an excellent ornamental tree with its large foliage that is tropical in appearance turning to a glowing golden-yellow during autumn. It is generally left along by insects and diseases. A small tree; it typically grows to 20 feet though can be much larger on ideal sites. The record for this tree would be 67 x 33 feet with a trunk diameter of 3 feet. One of the tallest Pawpaws on record grows at McGrillis Gardens in Bethesda, MD. In 20 years, the trunk diameter may reach 5 inches. Typically moderate growing; it can become fast growing on excellent sites and the record growth increase in a year is 6 feet. Suckers may appear up to 10 feet from the tree. The Pawpaw is moderately long-lived and can persist as long as 150 years.
The leaves are long, oval, pointed and drooping up to 12 inches in length ( larger leaves up to 15 x 7 inches have been found on trees in the Canard River Valley near Amherstburg, Ontario ).
The luxuriant green foliage turns to rich yellow in autumn.
The leaves in powdered form can be used as an insecticide against aphids and mosquito larvae.
The red-brown spring flowers are up to 2 inches wide and pendulous.
They are borne as the new foliage emerges.
They are followed during autumn with edible, yellowish-brown fruit, up to 5 inches in length, that is sweet and fragrant. The Pawpaw is not self pollinating so male and female trees are needed to produce fruit. I recommend buying this tree in a nursery since in the wild it often reproduces from root sprouts and if they all originate from one tree then you will not have the opposite sex tree needed to produce the fruit ( just think with Hollies you also need both sex plants to get berries )
Trees can bear fruit in as little as 4 years.
The record crop known is 60 pounds of fruit in a year ( if anybody recorded more please send a mail with pictures ). To get a good supply of Pawpaw, you need to grow your own. The soft skinned fruit do not ship well and are rarely seen in markets.
The very nutritious fruit contain Vitamin A & C and also 15% carbohydrates, 5% protein ( alot for a fruit ) and 1% fat.
The fruit can be eaten fresh or cooked and used for preserves, cakes and pies. The pulp can be dried and freezed if later use is desired. A growing season of at least 160 days is needed for the fruit to ripen.
The Pawpaw prefers moist, well drained soil and does not like drought. In the wild it is usually found in the moist undergrowth of mature hardwood forest however it actually grows very well and denser in cultivation in full sun with adequate irrigation the first few years and after during drought. Also grows well in part shade; though deep shade will only yield leaves and no fruit. Hardy from zone 3 to 9. It surprisingly grows well in Wisconsin which is colder than anywhere within its native range. It also thrives at Dominion Arboretum in Ottawa, Canada but suffers minor winter dieback on occasion. Nursery experimentation reveals that this tree can reach 5 feet in height in 3 months in greenhouses with 15 hours a day light. Care should be taken with transplanting and the Pawpaw is best planted small for quick establishment ( long taproot is brittle making moving a plant taller than 1 foot difficult ). Personally I only seen small potted trees for sale, never ever seeing it ball and burlap. More nurseries are carrying it now with customer request and this is a tree I personally can find and will install if requested. While Home Depot and Lowes do not currently carry it - many native plants sales do sell it and I most certainly do recommend this tree to anyone with a home orchard.
To propagate, stratify the seeds at 40 F for 4 months, then sow in peat tubes as to not disturb the roots ( they do not like root disturbance incl. transplanting ).
Hardwood and root cuttings can also be used to propagate the Pawpaw.
The fast growing young plants hate hot sunlight so they must be grown in shade. After a few years, they become tolerant of full sun.

* photo taken @ U.S. National Arboretum, D.C.

* photo taken on May 1 2010 @ U.S. National Arboretum, D.C.

* photo taken on annual Horticultural Society of Maryland Garden Tour

* photo taken on 4th of July 2010 @ U.S. National Arboretum, D.C.

* photo taken on 4th of July in Washington, D.C.

* photos taken on July 17 2010 @ Morris Arboretum, Philly, PA

* photo taken on August 3 2010 @ University of Guelph Arboretum, Ontario

* photo of unknown internet source

* photo taken on Sep 3 2012 in Columbia, MD

* photo taken on June 23 2013 @ U.S. National Arboretum, Washington, DC

* photo taken on Sep 15 2013 in Howard Co., MD

* photo taken on June 1 2014 @ Maryland Horticulturalist Society garden tour, Clarksville

* photo taken on June 22 2014 in Howard Co., MD

* photo taken on July 11 2014 in Washington, DC

* photos taken on Aug 15 2014 at Maryland Zoo, Baltimore, MD

* photos taken on Sep 9 2014 in Columbia, MD

* photo taken on Oct 19 2014 in Howard Co., MD

* photos taken on Oct 21 2014 @ U.S. Botanical Gardens, Washington, DC

* photo taken by R.C.B. Thurston @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database

* historical archive photo

* photos taken on May 3 2015 in Ellicott City, MD

* photo taken on May 17 2015 in Sandy Spring/Olney, MD

* photos taken Aug 2016 @ Patuxent Research Refuge, Laurel, MD

* photos taken on May 27 2017 @ Meadowlark Botanical Gardens, Vienna, VA

* photo taken on Sep 3 2017 @ U.S. National Arboretum, D.C.

Oikos Tree Crops article on the Pawpaw

Large fruit with excellent flavor. Orange-yellow flesh. The fastest growing Pawpaw variety.

* photo taken on Aug 5 2017 @ Brookside Gardens, Wheaton, MD

Large oval to rounded fruit with golden flesh and excellent flavor. The fruit contains few seeds.

Very large fruit with few seeds and yellow-orange flesh. The fruit, borne in clusters or 3 to 5 ripen during mid autumn.

'Pennsylvania Golden'
The large, yellow fruit with golden-yellow flesh ripen during early autumn.

A cultivar that originated from a wild plant in Michigan, bearing large fruit, up to 10 ounces, that ripen during early October. 'Wilson'

* photo taken on Aug 5 2017 @ Brookside Gardens, Wheaton, MD

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