Asimina triloba - Pawpaw
It's amazing that this plant is so unknown! Pawpaw is an understory tree native to the eastern US whose other close relatives are native to the tropics. It is also a butterfly magnet in late April and early May when its deep brownish-purple flowers open up before its thick, long, tapered green leaves emerge. Better yet, it will be a perfect medium-sized tree in your landscape with an easy-care nature and a great story to tell!
- Understory tree
- Large, cylindrical yellow to green fruit
- Attracts butterflies and various critters
- Easy to care for
- Deep brownish-purple flowers April to May
Map Credit: The Biota of North America
Map Key: Green (native), Teal (native, adventive), Blue (present), Yellow (present & rare), Red (extinct)
It's a tree that fruits and was prized by colonists in America for its taste but is nearly forgotten today except by the various forest critters that love to harvest its large, cylindrical yellow to green colored fruit with the slightly banana-like flavor.
The wild fruit was once harvested, but the supply has now significantly decreased due to clearing forests. The small crop is generally consumed only by wildlife, such as opossums, squirrels, raccoons, and birds. Attempts have been made to cultivate Common Pawpaw as a fruit tree, first recorded by the DeSoto expedition in the lower Mississippi Valley in 1541. The name Common Pawpaw is from the Arawakan name of Papaya, an unrelated tropical American fruit. - Wildflower.org
For fruit production 2 or more trees will need to be planted. Single plantings will rarely produce fruit as they need cross-pollination. It makes a great understory tree growing best in moist, sunny to partly shaded landscapes.
Mature Size: 20-25'T x 20-25'W
Hardiness Zone: 5-8
Sun Exposure: Full Sun to Part Shade
Choosing the Right Plants
American Beauties Offer Solution Based Plant Collections to Help you Choose
Quick Tips for Choosing Plants:
- Planting a variety of native trees, shrubs, perennials and vines increases biodiversity and gives wildlife a source for food, cover and nesting
- Choose a mixture of deciduous and evergreen trees so birds and other wildlife will always be able to find shelter
- Plant trees and large shrubs where they will block winter winds from the house and shade it in summer, that will save energy and lower your carbon footprint
- Try your best to buy plants that were grown locally, your independent garden center will be your best bet
- Think about ultimate height and width of the plant you choose, make sure it will fit the space you have for it when it's reached maturity
- Plant nectar plants in groups, to attract butterflies and other beneficial insects more easily
- Ask for help if you need it. Most garden centers either have a landscape designer on staff or they can give you a reference of a designer that is adept at native plant wildlife gardening. There will be upfront costs but they are small when compared to having to redo a landscape that wasn't what you really wanted
Our Plant Tags Hold the Secrets to Success
Choosing the right plants for your garden can seem like a daunting task but we’re here to help. Our horticulturists have spent a considerable amount of time researching and writing our beautiful, American Beauties plant tags to help you be successful. First of all, when you see an American Beauties branded pot at your garden center you can be confident that the plant is native to your area and a responsible choice.
When you look at our tag you’ll find information about the plants natural habitat. That will give you a clue to how it will work in your backyard. For instance if the plant is naturally founded and moist, shade and you have full sun, it’s not the plant for you. The “Features” section gives you an overview or plant description so you’ll know what to expect. While the “Benefits” section talks about the plants strong suits and how the plant will benefit wildlife.
A Special Note About Exposure
Full sun: Prefers six or more hours of direct sunshine a day
Partial shade: Thrives in three to six hours of daily sunshine
Shade: Generally does well with less than three hours of sun per day. Having said that even shade loving plants will struggle in extremely deep shade.
Best Plants for Bees - Double sided printout for download
Best Plants for Butterflies - Double sided printout for download