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Paw paw

Deep green pawpaw tree leaves and oval-shaped fruit

Paw paw

TreeNA graphic showing Paw Paw tree foliage and fruit

About the paw paw tree

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

Identification: Paw paws 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 paw paw fruit in fall. The paw paw, tasting of a mix of mango, banana and citrus, is North America's largest native fruit. Paw paws 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: Paw paw 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.