Asimina triloba ([Common] Pawpaw)

Tried and True Native Plant Selections for the Mid-Atlantic

Unpalatable to deer, Pawpaw is increasingly prevalent in the upland understories deer frequent. It commonly grows in river valleys and bottomlands in the Mid-Atlantic Region from southern Pennsylvania through Virginia. Its fruit, with a complex tropical taste (some say banana-mango-citrus) and custard-like texture, is the largest edible fruit native to North America and gives rise to common names like False Banana and Custard Apple

Print Version (Legal Size): Asmina triloba ([Common] Pawpaw) 

Tree Height: 15–30 feet Spread: 15–30 feet Bloom Color: Maroon Characteristics Round, small, short-trunked deciduous tree or large, multi-stemmed shrub with suckering habit Dark green, oblong, leaves, 6–12 inches long Bell-shaped, 6-petaled, maroon flowers April to June Edible, tropical-tasting, green berry, 3–6 inches long, ripens to yellowish late summer/early fall Fall foliage dull to bright yellow to copper Eat pulp raw (cut fruit in half and scoop out) or use for custard, pies, or ice cream. Don’t eat skin or seeds. Some find the taste vile, experience gastrointestinal upset, or develop skin irritation when handling. Fruit can pose a litter problem if not eaten or harvested. Smooth brown to lenticel-speckled gray bark Spreading root suckers can form colonies Attributes Tolerates wet soil and black walnut; no serious pests or diseases; deer rarely damage Ethnobotanic use as yellow dye from fruit pulp Attracts flies & beetles to pollinate flowers; birds, mammals, and box turtles eat fruit; larval host of Zebra Swallowtail butterfly & Pawpaw Sphinx moth Growing and Maintenance Tips Soil Requirements: Average, well-drained Light Requirements: Sun, Partial Shade Water Requirements: Moist, Wet Plant two or more genetic strains to produce best fruit Use as a fruit tree or in rain or native plant gardens Hardiness: USDA Zones 5-9 Excellent Replacement for Elaeagnus angustifolia & E. umbellata - Russian-olive & Autumn-olive Rhamnus cathartica & R. frangula - Common Buckthorn & Glossy Buckhorn

Learn more about other Mid-Atlantic plants: Tried and True Plant Fact Sheets