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Pawpaw Asimina triloba

Other Common Name(s):

Phonetic Spelling
ah-SIH-min-ah trih-LO-bah
This plant has low severity poison characteristics.
See below
Description

Asimina triloba, commonly called pawpaw, is a deciduous tree that may grow 20 to 30 feet tall. The leaves are alternate and produce pungent odor when crushed. The bark is smooth with wart-like lenticels. In spring, 6-petaled, purplish-brown flowers mature. The small tree produces a 2.5- to 4-inch fruit that matures in late summer to early fall. The fruit resembles a short, fat banana in size and taste.

Colonial. Need more than one genetic strain for best fruit set. Good fall color (yellow).

Wildlife eagerly seek out the fruits and often beat humans to the harvest.

Fire Risk: This plant has a low flammability rating.

Seasons of Interest: 

  Leaves:  Fall                  Blooms:   Early spring, spring             Nut/Fruit/Seed:  Late summer, fall

 Habitat: Alluvial forests, other moist, nutrient-rich forests

 

VIDEO Created by Elisabeth Meyer for "Edibles, Bulbs, and Houseplants" a plant identification course offered in partnership with Longwood Gardens.   

Profile Video:
See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
'Allegheny', A. parviflora, 'Davis', 'Mango', 'NC-1', 'Overleese', 'Potomac', 'Shenandoah', 'Sunflower', 'Susquehanna', 'Wabash'
Tags:
#fragrant#deciduous#small tree#understory#poisonous#rain garden#wildlife plant#showy#native tree#shade tolerant#native shrub#food source#low flammability#NC native#fire resistant#colonies#edible fruits#edible garden#Braham Arboretum#larval host plant#food source summer#food source fall#food source herbage#food source soft-mast fruit#coastal FAC#Piedmont Mountains FAC#fruits#bird friendly#ebh#ebh-fn#audubon#woodlands
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
'Allegheny', A. parviflora, 'Davis', 'Mango', 'NC-1', 'Overleese', 'Potomac', 'Shenandoah', 'Sunflower', 'Susquehanna', 'Wabash'
Tags:
#fragrant#deciduous#small tree#understory#poisonous#rain garden#wildlife plant#showy#native tree#shade tolerant#native shrub#food source#low flammability#NC native#fire resistant#colonies#edible fruits#edible garden#Braham Arboretum#larval host plant#food source summer#food source fall#food source herbage#food source soft-mast fruit#coastal FAC#Piedmont Mountains FAC#fruits#bird friendly#ebh#ebh-fn#audubon#woodlands
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Asimina
    Species:
    triloba
    Family:
    Annonaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    Early Americans made yellow dye from pulp of the ripened fruit.
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Canada and U.S.A., NC
    Distribution:
    WA south to NM, NE, IA. Parts of WI, MI east to ME, south to FL
    Fire Risk Rating:
    low flammability
    Wildlife Value:
    Edible flesh fruit becomes soft and custard-like sweet taste similar to bananas. Fruits eaten by sondgbirds, wild turkeys, squirrels, raccoons, opossums, black bear, and foxes.
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    Resistant to fire and moderately resistant to damage from deer.
    Edibility:
    Raw berries in small quantities. Stomach/skin irritation in some, especially if not fully ripe.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 15 ft. 0 in. - 30 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 15 ft. 0 in. - 30 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Edible
    Native Plant
    Poisonous
    Shrub
    Tree
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Pyramidal
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Deep shade (Less than 2 hours to no direct sunlight)
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasionally Wet
    Available Space To Plant:
    12 inches-3 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    5a, 5b, 6b, 6a, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9b, 9a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Edible
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Summer
    Fruit Type:
    Berry
    Fruit Length:
    > 3 inches
    Fruit Width:
    > 3 inches
    Fruit Description:
    Edible flesh fruit becomes soft and custard-like sweet taste similar to bananas, very nutritious. Glaucous surface. Displays from August to October.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Purple/Lavender
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Petals:
    6 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    1-3 inches
    Flower Description:
    Monoecious purplish-brown 6 petal 1-1.5 inch flowers bloom from March to May. Foul odor as they are pollinated by flies.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Oblong
    Obovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Alternate, simple, obovate to oblong 6-12 inches long 2-3 inches wide with a green pepper odor when crushed. Droops from the stem. Looks compound but is actually simple. Underside is pale and glaucous.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Light Brown
    Light Gray
    Surface/Attachment:
    Fissured
    Lenticels
    Scaly
    Bark Description:
    Smooth, brown splotched with wart-like lenticels. Becomes fissured and scaly with age.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Bud Scales:
    No scales, covered in hair
    Stem Lenticels:
    Conspicuous
    Stem Description:
    Buds are pubescent with no scales. Young buds and stems are cinnamon brown.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Naturalized Area
    Riparian
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Edible Garden
    Rain Garden
    Design Feature:
    Flowering Tree
    Attracts:
    Butterflies
    Small Mammals
    Songbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Fire
    Problems:
    Contact Dermatitis
    Malodorous
    Poisonous to Humans
  • Poisonous to Humans:
    Poison Severity:
    Low
    Poison Symptoms:
    Stomach and intestinal pain. Skin irritation from handling fruit
    Poison Toxic Principle:
    Unknown
    Causes Contact Dermatitis:
    Yes
    Poison Part:
    Fruits
    Leaves