Have you heard of the Pawpaw tree? This interesting species may have a funny name, but it’s one of the widest growing saplings in the U.S. The National Park Service states, “It’s the only local member of a large, mainly-tropical plant family (Annonaceae), and produces the largest edible fruit native to North America.”
There is some debate on the correct spelling of this fruit tree here at Ty Ty Nursery, which is native to North America and the most common edible fruit tree in the U.S. But whether you call it pawpaw, pawpaw, or paw paw, the results are the same, an edible fruit tree that grows well in temperate climates throughout the eastern U.S., which can be planted in yards and in large planters to add color and depth to your landscaping.
If you are a hiker, you may have seen or walked over the pawpaw’s fruit, which begins to ripen in September and October and are edible for humans. When ripe, the fruit is about the size of a lemon, easily fitting in the palm of your hand; but it looks more like a small green potato. The fruit grows in clusters on the pawpaw tree and falls to the ground when over-ripe. According to the National Park Service, “the flavor of pawpaw fruit is often compared to bananas, but with hints of mango, vanilla, and citrus.” The fruit’s flesh is soft, similar to stone and tropical fruits.
If you want to try a pawpaw fruit, it’s recommended to lightly shake the pawpaw tree to dislodge ripe fruit. But most forest animals like the fruit of the pawpaw tree as well, so you’ll have to do some creative foraging to find it! The fruit’s bright, tropical flavor is worth the effort, but don’t forget to spit out the seeds. The pawpaw is definitely one of America’s best kept secret fruit trees! They contain a high amount of amino acids which are good for your diet, as well as potassium and Vitamin C.
Gardeners also love the pawpaw tree because of its lovely dark green leaves and tropical appearance. At Ty Ty Nursery, we tell planters that the leaves change color with the seasons, turning bright yellow in autumn and the tree offers deep burgundy flowers from about March to May. The fruit has a very short shelf life, so enjoy them while you can. You can try adding the fruit to desserts or smoothies for a bright, tropical taste.
The Pawpaw Is Easy To Grow
Pawpaw trees are easy to grow, not requiring much attention or maintenance. They can even be grown in a large pot, but you’ll want to make it a deep one (we sell them here at Ty Ty Nursery), giving their vast root system space to expand. Pawpaw trees are pest-resistant and live well with an equal amount of both sunshine and shade. There are many different types of pawpaw species to choose from when adding them to your own yard. Make sure to plant more than one kind, to aid in cross-pollination.
In landscaping, the pawpaw tree has great potential to add beauty to your yard. The trees we sell here at Ty Ty Nursery can grow up to 40-ft high, into cone-shaped trees with thin leaves, and attract butterflies in high quantities. Deer don’t like pawpaw trees, which can be an added advantage as well.