Common Name: pawpaw
Native Range: Southeastern United States
Zone: 5 to 9
Height: 15.00 to 30.00 feet
Spread: 15.00 to 30.00 feet
Bloom Time: April to May
Bloom Description: Purple
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium to wet
Suggested Use: Rain Garden
Flower: Fragrant, Insignificant
Leaf: Good Fall
Fruit: Showy, Edible
Tolerate: Wet Soil
Easily grown in average, medium to wet, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Prefers moist, acidic, fertile soils. Will grow in shade but becomes leggy.
Pawpaw is a Missouri native small understory tree or large shrub which typically grows 15-20' tall (sometimes to 30') and occurs in low bottom woods, wooded slopes, ravines and along streams. Often spreads by root suckers to form colonies or thickets. Large, slightly drooping, elliptical, medium green leaves (6-12" long) retain green color well into fall before turning to a bright (but sometimes undistinguished) yellow. Cup-shaped, purple flowers (3 green sepals and 6 purple petals in two tiers) appear in spring, and give way to edible, oblong, yellowish green fruits which mature in early autumn to a dark brown. Flavor and fleshy consistency of the sweet-flavored fruits resembles bananas. Fruits are frequently eaten raw or used in ice creams or pies, although they can produce nausea in some people. Wildlife (e.g., raccoons, squirrels and opossums) eagerly seek out the fruits and often beat humans to the harvest. Early Americans made a yellow dye from the pulp of the ripened fruit.
No serious insect or disease problems.
An interesting native plant with somewhat questionable ornamental value. Naturalize in a native plant or wild garden, or grow in a shrub border or woodland margin. Effective in damp areas along ponds or streams.