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Paw Paw
Paw Paw (Asimina triloba)

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Our very own Native Americans knew about the various attributes of the tropical looking pawpaw, and most likely increased their distribution to what it is today. Although not very well known today, except among a growing group of followers, the pawpaw deserves more respect than it gets. Let’s start with the flavor of its fruit, which can be described as an intense banana pudding with a hint of mango flavor. The fruit flavor comes as a surprise considering the leaves smell of bell pepper or diesel fuel when crushed, which keeps the foliage relatively pest free. Even if these fruits didn’t taste like a dream, the health benefits far outweigh the flavor experience. Pawpaw is extremely high in Calcium, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium, amino acids, and several vitamins. It is also being studied intensively for its already proven anti-cancer and insecticidal qualities. 

We collect our fruit every year in late August, just before they ripen and fall to the ground when hungry deer, coons, possums, hogs, and you-name-it are waiting to steal our crop. Many of our fruits are quite large (up to 4 or 5” in length) and contain fewer seeds, which is a good thing considering paw paws seem to inherit traits from their parents more often than not. 

Paw paws prefer your best soil with good drainage and protection from wind, so try and be picky when choosing a site for planting. A good starting point would be about twenty feet away from a treeline in a bottom field. Cedars or other fruit trees make an excellent windbreak, just be sure and plant your paw paws at least twenty feet from your break to deter its roots from robbing the soil moisture. A good spacing would be ten foot by at least ten foot. Don’t forget to consider prevailing winds when choosing a site.

Zone: 6 - 8
Soil pH: 5.2 - 7.2
Mature Height: 35'
Wildlife Value: Fruit eaten by deer, raccoon, fox, opossum, and most songbirds.
Site Preference: Must be planted in shade or covered by artificial shade for first four years of growth. Likes deep, moist, soils usually along streams or rivers.
Fruit: Produces fruit similar to banana with a good taste. Also believed to contain anti-carcinogens
Alias: False Banana

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