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Pawpaw

Deep green pawpaw tree leaves and oval-shaped fruit

Pawpaw

TreeNA graphic showing Paw Paw tree foliage and fruit

About the pawpaw tree

Pawpaw (Paw paw, Kentucky banana, prairie banana) - Asimina triloba

Identification: Pawpaws often grow in the understory near riverbanks and ridges under the canopy of larger trees. These trees have long, deep green leaves that smell faintly of gasoline. They produce an unusual, dark purple flower in spring, turning into a large (about the size of a pear) bean-shaped pawpaw fruit in fall. The pawpaw, tasting of a mix of mango, banana and citrus, is North America's largest native fruit. Pawpaws have a slow growth rate and tend to form thickets. 

Height: 15-30 feet 

Preferences: Full sun to shade. Hardiness zones 5-8. Needs a moist environment. 

Wildlife value: Birds and small mammals may be attracted to this tree's thickets for shelter. 

Uses: Pawpaw trees can be planted as specimen trees or allowed to grow in clumps as windscreens. They are not common in residential areas but are gaining in popularity due to their unusual, edible fruit.