The Pawpaw Tree

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The Pawpaw Tree

Postby chlamor » Tue Apr 29, 2008 9:41 pm

Image

Pawpaw trees were discovered in 1541 by the Spanish explorer, Hernando Desoto, on an excursion into the Mississippi Valley, and he sent samples of this plant back to Europe.

William Bartram in 1776 stated in his botanical book, Travels, that he found pawpaw trees growing on the Alatamaha River in Georgia and in east Florida, which he described as, ‘Annona incarna,’ the name later was updated by modern taxonomists. “The fruit the size of a small cucumber …containing a yellow pulp of the consistence of a hard custard, and a very delicious, wholesome food.”

This fruit is agreeably flavored and considered to be the largest native fruit of North America. The pawpaw trees are said to be endangered or threatened in the states of New York and New Jersey, in the forests where it grows naturally.

The pawpaw tree grows across most of the eastern United States as a native tree. Mature pawpaw trees produce fruits 2" wide by 10" long, looking and tasting very much like a banana. The fruit is liked immensely by most people and may be purchased at many outdoor markets in West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, etc. The pawpaw pulp has the consistency of creamy custard and may be eaten raw, baked, or used as a pie filling. The trees grow about 15' tall and have been known to produce as much as 60 pounds of pawpaws per tree. Some individual pawpaws weigh up to a pound each. Zones 5-10

Much interest has been recently directed towards research and development of improved varieties of the pawpaw at Universities in Tennessee, Kentucky, and Ohio. The large fruit is not well known in much of the United States, but its flavor and exotic shape make it a candidate for the expansive, potential of specialty fruit markets in the future. Taste it once fresh and you will feel compelled to have some of these pawpaw trees growing in your personal fruit orchard.

One of the great horticultural mysteries of the world is: why have most paw paw trees, that were plentiful throughout early U.S. forests, virtually disappeared from their natural habitat today? That answer may lie within the research results (Peterson 1991), that showed that the paw paw is sensitive to ultraviolet light, thus, paw paw seedlings may not grow back after the forests have been harvested, and there are very few virgin forests left in the United States. Paw paws can be found growing there abundantly, but once the forests are clean-cut, the paw paw will not usually become re-established.

These experiments must be clearly remembered, when you order your paw paw trees. They must be planted under partial shade of other trees, however, you may plant your pawpaw trees in the open, if the trees are grown under shade cloth for a couple of seasons. The tree will lose its sensitivity to full sunlight once it has become established and the shade cloth can be discarded.

Some gardeners wish to plant their pawpaw trees in pots for a couple of years under shady conditions, but this is not necessary if the above guidelines are followed. Since paw paw trees are tap rooted, growth will be slow during the first year, but after that, very rapid growth occurs afterwards.

Paw paw leaves are large and that large leaf surface generally indicates a need for large amounts of soil moisture, and therefore, generally, paw paws are found in their greatest numbers near river flood plains. Leaves or other organic composted materials are very beneficial to paw paws.

The skin of paw paws is thin and edible and can vary in color from a light green to a golden yellow. Most people prefer to eat the pawpaw fruit after it becomes soft to the touch. The custard- like pulp tastes like banana and varies in color from white to deep orange. The seed are few and large, thus, pawpaws are easy to eat raw.

Most paw paws are sold at roadside markets, because the shelf life is short. Commercially, the paw paw is important in juices, pies, cakes, custards, ice cream and other processed products.

The pawpaw tree was voted by Better Homes and Gardens, in the year 2000, as the landscape tree of the year. The pawpaw and the pawpaw tree are loaded with beneficial health extracts. The bark contains fluids that demonstrate anti-tumor properties and have been used over the years to fight scarlet fever and red skin rashes. These extracts from pawpaw trees are highly useful as an organic insect killer (pesticide).

Pawpaw fruits are rich in minerals such as magnesium, copper, zinc, iron, manganese, potassium, and phosphorus. The fruit also contains abundant concentrations of Vitamin C, proteins, and their derivative amino acids.

There are a number of grafted cultivars of paw paw but their range of adaptation is very narrow, and many cultivars that produce heavy crops of large fruit in Kentucky, Indiana or West Virginia do not perform satisfactorily in Georgia, Florida, Carolina or Alabama. Consider buying improved seedling paw paw trees, which appear to be more adaptable universally. Try some of these trees in your orchard for a real tasty treat.

http://ezinearticles.com/?History-Of-Th ... &id=370268

My comment: Desoto didn't discover shit least of all the Pawpaw tree.
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Postby chlamor » Tue Apr 29, 2008 9:47 pm

Pawpaw, Asimina triloba (L.), in fall
Michelle McClanan and Douglas G. Pfeiffer
Department of Entomology

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Blacksburg, VA

I. Introduction: The Pawpaw tree, Asimina triloba (L.) Dunal, is native to the eastern U.S. It's range extends from Florida to New York and on into southern Ontario (map of distribution). This genus is the only representative of the tropical Annonaceae family. Asimina triloba is the most hardy of this genus and has the most potential for commercial production.

II. Characteristicsof the Pawpaw: The Pawpaw is a deciduous tree which requires little pruning to maintain its shape. It grows to a height of about 20 feet. The tree produces a maroon upside-down flower in the axils of the last year's leaves. The flowers are about 2 inches across and bloom occurs between March and May depending upon cultivar and climactic conditions. Each flower is capable of producing several fruits because the flower contains several ovaries. The leaves of the pawpaw are dark green and oblong and can reach 1 foot in length! They turn yellow in autumn and the tree leafs out again in the spring after bloom. The fruit is the largest fruit native to America. The fruits can weigh up to 16 ounces and are up to 6 inches in length (the fruit size and weight does vary by cultivar).

III. Growing Pawpaws: Although pawpaws are typically an understory tree in their native habitat, they are very adaptable to soil and site conditions. Young seedlings cannot withstand direct sunlight, and so must be shaded for a couple of years. Mature trees, however, do well in strong sunlight if supplied with slightly acidic, deep, moist but well drained soil.

Pawpaw trees are hardy to USDA climate zone 5. During the winter months the tree enters a deep dormancy. The roots as well are dormant, rare among deciduous trees, so transplanting should be done in the spring after the tree has broken its dormancy, otherwise damage to the roots may result in fungal infections and root rot. Transplanting can be trickey as pawpaws have extremely long taproots. Nurseries often offer seed;ings or grafted named cultivars. Chose plants that have been raised in a container, this way the integrity of the taproot is reasonably ensured.

Pawpaws must be cross pollinated for fruit to set. Plant at least two trees with different genotypes (ie. two different cultivars or seeds from two different trees). Pollination is carried out by flies and beetles. Bees seem to be uninterested in the flowers of the pawpaw. Pawpaws are easily propagated by grafting, but softwood and hardwood cuttings are difficult to root. Pawpaws may be grown from seed, provided the seeds are properly stratified.


For more on growing Pawpaws:


planting guide 1,

IV. Pests: The pawpaw tree has few pests.

Asimina spp. are the larval host for the Zebra Swallowtail, Eurytides marcellus (Cramer) (IFAS , USGS links). North of Florida, Asimina triloba is the exclusive host for the caterpillar. The caterpillar rarely feeds on the foliage in numbers great enough to reduce the yield.

The pawpaw peduncle borer, Talponia plummeriana, may be the most severe pest (USNM image). The larvae, which reach a length of 5 mm, feed in fleshy parts of the flower, causing flowers to drop.

A leafrolling caterpillar, Ompalocera munroei, can be damaging to young trees (Blossom Nursery link).

An FAO site lists pawpaw fruit fly (or papaya fruit fly), Toxotrypana curvicauda (USDA web page, image), as a pest in Florida and Venezuela, pawpaw whitefly (or papaya whitefly), Trialeuroides variabilis, and a spider mite, Tetranychus seximaculatus, are listed as pests as well. Several closely related species of hornworms (Sphingidae) may feed on foliate (Erinnyis obscura in Jamaica, E. ello in Venezuela, E. alope in Florida).

Other predators of the fruit include raccons, squirrels, foxes and mice. Deer, rabbits, and goats do not feed on leaves and twigs. This may be due to the anti-cancer and pesticidal properties of the leaves and twigs. NPR radio, on April 16, 2001, ran a story on the pawpaw tree being a possible replacement crop for tobacco.

Links to Pawpaw related sites
Kentucky State Unversity probably the best website for Pawpaw information.

Purdue University website for Pawpaw

California Rare Fruit Growers Pawpaw page

Midwest Fruit Explorers for the backyard fruit grower

Ohio Public Library Information Network "What Tree is It? Page.

Care to go to a pawpaw festival? The information is HERE. Also a great place for Pawpaw products.

Many links here:

http://www.virginiafruit.ento.vt.edu/Pa ... _000C.html
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Postby chiggerbit » Wed Apr 30, 2008 10:20 am

http://tinyurl.com/4lkq72

"....An interesting side note about paw paw trees — floodplains in southeast Michigan have suffered tremendous damage due to development. In the not too distant past the beautiful Zebra Swallowtail butterfly was a regular butterfly in this area. Today it is rare in southeast Michigan and may be only a stray vagrant now. This change is due to the fact that its larval host plant, the Paw-paw has also become quite rare in our area. Paw-paw loves growing in undisturbed floodplains...."
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Postby annie aronburg » Thu May 01, 2008 10:03 pm

I love the Indiana Banana! (asimina triloba)

Unfortunately your photo depicts the carica papaya tree.

Here's a good looking paw paw:
Image

Both fruits are delicious and nutritious, though I prefer the creamy taste of the paw paw, and the beautiful dark maroon blossoms.
One Green World in Oregon stocks 15 varieties!

They also carry many other hardy and unusual fruiting plants that are well worth a peruse.
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Postby NavnDansk » Fri May 16, 2008 10:10 pm

I had never heard of the paw-paw tree. Beautiful photos esp. the first one.

So many wonderful plants and trees for food. God is bountiful. Wish more people could share. Who owns the good earth?
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Postby chiggerbit » Sat May 17, 2008 10:29 pm

One of the great horticultural mysteries of the world is: why have most paw paw trees, that were plentiful throughout early U.S. forests, virtually disappeared from their natural habitat today? That answer may lie within the research results (Peterson 1991), that showed that the paw paw is sensitive to ultraviolet light, thus, paw paw seedlings may not grow back after the forests have been harvested, and there are very few virgin forests left in the United States.


When I first moved to this property, deep down in the bottom of my ravine which is just up from the river bottom, I came across a bank loaded with a small grove of very small trees , trees no taller than shrubs, and I couldn't figure out what they were. The blossoms reminded me of the blossom of wild ginger, a woodland wildflower, so I was able to look it up from that similarity. Although they've bloomed in plenty, I've never found fruit on any of them. This year, since reading this thread, I've tried pollinating with my finger. I know that there have to be trees nearby that do fruit, or else I wouldn't have these young trees. And I did find what I think are mature pawpaw trees on my neighbor's property, although they are still a small tree, even in maturity. If they do fruit, I'll be singing, Way Down Yonder in the Pawpaw Patch.

http://kids.niehs.nih.gov/lyrics/pawpaw.htm

Man, it has been a loooong time since I heard that tune.
Last edited by chiggerbit on Sat May 17, 2008 10:53 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Postby chiggerbit » Sat May 17, 2008 10:34 pm

Last edited by chiggerbit on Sun May 18, 2008 12:43 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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paw paw proliferation

Postby annie aronburg » Sun May 18, 2008 11:03 am

Chiggie, try using a soft paint brush to gather pollen from one tree and apply to the blossoms of another.

The Paw Paw is an understory plant, it likes to live in the shade of larger trees for the first few years before it receives full sun, a good tree to plant among older trees near the end of their productivity.

It may be time to give your Paw Paws a little more light.

Annie


http://www.crfg.org/pubs/ff/pawpaw.html
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Postby chiggerbit » Sun May 18, 2008 12:11 pm

Hmmm, you could be absolutely right, annie. The bank with the majority of my pawpaws is in a deep ravine with little light shining in there except an hour or so before noon and after noon, as well as being full of large trees. I do have several trees up on a hill closer to the house, which just happens to be an area where I am losing shingle oaks to oak wilt, so I may find out in the next couple of years if you are right, without even having to cut down any trees.
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Postby Joe Hillshoist » Wed May 21, 2008 5:57 am

We used to have a Pawpaw in the yard, but the white ants got it. I put some coffee there.

Apparantly the leaves some anti carcinogenic properties, and its yummy. Also, if the birds and bugs are constantly getting most of them, and you rely on them for food, you can cook them green. I love pawpaw curry.
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Postby annie aronburg » Wed May 21, 2008 11:38 am

Joe Hillshoist wrote: I love pawpaw curry.


I hope you'll share the recipe with us.

Here's some more information on this awesome fruit!

http://canada-gardens.com/2pawpaw.html

The Natural, Secret Ingredients in Pawpaw Flavor

Acetoin acetate: Milky, soft, weak, sweet, buttery, melon flesh-like. Powerful, ethereal, sweet, acetoin-like, yogurt-like.

Acetoin butanoate:(detected in nature for the first time) Buttery, fruity, creamy, estery, sweet, pear-like. Fruity, sweet coarse, buttery, burnt sugar note.

Acetoin hexanoate: (detected in nature for the first time) Milky, fruity, oily wet, fermented, fresh gree, apple-like, pawpaw-like. Fruity, pineapple-like, quince-like, reminiscent of hard flesh.

Acetoin octanoate: (detected in nature for the first time) Oily, juicy, fruity, spicy, powerful, pear-like, fermented. Oily, fermented.

Butane-2,3-diol monobutanoate: Fruity, mild, succulent, weak, apple-like, Muscat-like, Japanese Pear-like, Walnut-like. Sweet-sour, succulent, fruity.

Butane-2,3-diol monohexanoate: Fruity, succulent, powerful, powdery, dusty, buttery, coarse, woody, rum-like, apple peel-like, green. Buttery, succulent, fruity.

Butane-2,3-diol monooctanoate: Wet-fatty, weak, soft, cool, fresh milk-like, blue-cheese-like, slightly astringent. Cool, milk-like, baked bread-like.


Hey Chiggie,
Are you anywhere near Integration Acres?

If so this September you might want to check out the Paw Paw Festival.


Annie
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Postby chiggerbit » Wed May 21, 2008 10:58 pm

A couple of states over from there.
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Postby chiggerbit » Fri Aug 22, 2008 12:17 pm

Hey Chiggie,
Are you anywhere near Integration Acres?

If so this September you might want to check out the Paw Paw Festival.


annie, do you know if Septemeber is when the fruit ripens? Joe, how do you know when it is ripe?
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Postby annie aronburg » Sun Aug 24, 2008 2:34 pm

annie, do you know if Septemeber is when the fruit ripens?


I'd hope so, considering the Paw Paw Festival is in the middle of September.

According to my books, September and October are the harvest months.

How are your pawpaws looking? Any fruit?
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