Pawpaw, the delicious wild fruit

Pawpaw is the largest native fruit of North America, but it’s still not very well known. Pawpaw fruit vary in size, they can be as large as a Mango. They are Native to eastern United states and as far west as Michigan and south to Florida. The flavor resembles a mixture of mango, banana, and pineapple. It has a creamy texture. The flesh color varies from light orange to white.

Ripening season starts from September into November. I enjoy taking an annual trip to pick pawapaw from wild patches here in Pennsylvania. Last September I took a ride through Lancaster county the Amish country, into an area along the Susquehanna river where a friend mentioned about a wild Pawpaw patch.
Here are some of the views along the way, it was a  fun scenic ride.

I took a trail through the wooded area about a mile away from the Susquehanna river, and after 10 minute hike I reached an area surrounded by trees with beautiful tropical looking foliage. This was the pawpaw patch, I felt like Adam in the garden of Eden surrounded by wild fruit trees.

There were small, large, orange fleshed, and white fleshed pawpaw. I picked some off the ground, and some right off the trees. There were many ripe pawpaws in mid September, but there were several trees that still didn’t have ripe fruit. I avoided picking the hard green ones, since the best tasting pawpaw is the one picked when fully ripe. I also avoided picking the overly ripe pawpaw since it has a bitter after taste.

Those are the several pawpaw that were picked from the wild.

Today there are several known varieties of Pawpaw that were collected from the wild. Many breeders are releasing new varieties.
Here’s a variety that I grow known as Sunflower

Pawpaw can easily be grown from seeds. Seedlings start producing fruit within 6 years and they appear to be very close to the parent tree. Grafting is commonly used to produce known varieties. Grafting is done when the rootstock is at least 2 years old in early spring. Pawpaws do not transplant very well, and bare rooted trees are very tricky to get established. Container grown pawpaws have the most success when planted in a garden.

The pawpaw tree is very hardy, it can take temperatures down to -25°F. It is found in the wild as an understory tree, it can tolerate some shade, but for the best fruit production it needs a full sun. Young trees benefit from the shade. It doesn’t tolerate drought very well.

Bassem Samaan

Comments

Hi - would you tell me where

Hi - would you tell me where the wild pawpaw trees at? - if you don't mind. I have acquired 4 pawpaw trees this year and it will be few years before we would have the pawpaw fruits from the trees. But I can't wait to taste the pawpaw fruit! I live in northwest of Chester county. Thank you.
Nadine

Way back in 1969,grade 10

Way back in 1969,grade 10 highschool, my girlfriend, Suzanne, would sing me a song about the pawpaw patch; so, ofcourse, being an avid gardener, I have always wanted to grow a paw paw tree.
I live in Montreal, Canada. Would the winters be too cold to grow a paw paw tree here ?

Harry Green

I know that Pawpaw is native

I know that Pawpaw is native to many areas in southern Canada. It will survive zone 4, but not sure how reliable it will produce and ripens fruit in Montreal.

I have a 93 year old friend

I have a 93 year old friend who was born and raised in West Michigan. For many years I have served the driver for her (and her husband when he was alive). One of our regular stops is at a house she and her husband built in the outskirts of Holland, Michigan, where they had planted a paw paw tree. Though the home is owned by another family now, the owners have never minded them harvesting the paw paws. Every year we stop by when it's about time, and check to see if the fruits are ready... eventually we stop, get out of her van and scoop up as many as we can carry away. I would have never known about paw paws if it hadn't been for these knowledgeable elderly people who grew up being connected to the ecology of this area.

Wonderful introduction to

Wonderful introduction to this fruit. I was first introduced to it by an old farmer. Although they grow wild in many areas not many know about it.

I have always wanted to grow

I have always wanted to grow various fruit trees. I am currently growing (POTTED) 3 FIGS. Are the paw paws deer resistant? We get many visitors here...like 13 or so? I am goig to contact you for gooseberries, currants etc. Please advise about deer and paw paws..my fenced garden is small, but I have an acre unfenced.
Thank you.

I am located in Easton, Pa.

I have about a dozen Pawpaw

I have about a dozen Pawpaw trees, and not a single leaf has ever been bothered by deer. The bucks don't rub them either, and I have deer problems. We are in sw York County. The fruit attracts possums and coons (neither a nuisance here), and my dog eats the ones that fall, but otherwise pawpaws are trouble free from critters.

Another deer resistant tree that should be planted more often: Chionanthus virginicus. Planted right near what turned out to be a deer run, and never a leaf bothered.