Natural Highlights: Pawpaws

Native to deciduous forests of eastern North America, the Pawpaw (Asimina triloba) is a small tree with large leaves at home in the shady understory.  It produces large fruits once cultivated by Native Americans here in the Mississippi Valley and consumed by early settlers.  George Washington himself was apparently partial to paw paws, but for a long time this true North American native fruit tree has been forgotten by most people, if not by wildlife. Raccoons, opossums, foxes, and other animals eat pawpaw fruits, while flies and carrion beetles pollinate its foul-smelling flowers and the Zebra Swallowtail Butterfly relies on the tree's leaves as food for its caterpillars.  Only recently has there been a resurgence of interest in cultivating pawpaws in home gardens as well as in hopes of re-introducing the unique fruit to a wider market.



Read a great article about Pawpaws here.

Posted by Cathy Justis at 8:42 PM