PawPaw, North America’s Largest Edible Native Fruit

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(WKOW) — Add beauty and edibility to your landscape with North America’s largest native edible fruit,  Asimina triloba, also known as the pawpaw.

These 15 to 20’ tall trees start producing large fruit with a strong aroma, sweet, banana-like flavor and consistency of custard when six or seven years old.

Plant at least two different varieties to ensure pollination and fruit formation. Here at Boerner Botanical Gardens they’re growing two species and three pawpaw varieties in this planting.

Watch for the early spring, dark purple flowers and the flies and beetles that pollinate them. Boerner credits their consistently large harvests to growing several varieties and the abundant pollinators in their garden.

Harvest the large fruit when they’re soft to the touch and separate easily from the tree. Use them as soon as possible as they only last a couple of days at room temperature and a week when refrigerated.

Pawpaw trees are native from New York south to Florida and west to Nebraska and Texas. The fruit is high in Vitamins A and C and richer in P, K, MG and S than apples, peaches or grapes. The fruit is used in pies, puddings, cookies, cakes and more.

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