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Asimina triloba

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Plant types and subtypes: Trees & Shrubs, Shrubs, Trees, Shrub-like Trees, Deciduous

Light Requirements: sun, part-sun, part-shade

Water Use: medium

Soil Moisture: moist, wet

Soil Description: acid, neutral, rich, average, loam, clay, sand

Height: 10'-35'

Bloom Time: April, May

Bloom Color: red, crimson, purple

Leaf Color: green

Hardiness Zone: 5, 6, 7, 8

Additional Tags: attracts birds, attracts butterflies, colonizing, edible, fall interest, naturalizing, pond margin plant, showy fruit, stream margin plant

Asimina triloba (pawpaw).
  • Asimina triloba (pawpaw).
  • Asimina triloba (pawpaw).
  • Fall color of Asimina triloba (pawpaw).
  • Asimina triloba (pawpaw).

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Description

Asimina triloba

Also known as:

pawpaw

,

Indian banana

Scientific Synonyms:

Annona triloba

Description

Often seen growing as an understory shrub. At maturity, the pawpaw can grow to 35' in open areas under ideal conditions, developing its tree-like form. The green oblong, tropical looking leaves droop gently and turn brilliant yellow in fall. The cup-shape flowers are in dull shades of purple and crimson, and have an unusual, leathery appearance. These give way to 5" long, gourd shaped fruit. Emerging in pale shades of green, they will turn brown and very fragrant when ripe.

Cultivation

Easy to grow in average soil and light conditions, Asimina triloba will become leggy and thin if grown if deep shade. Often found along streams, it is tolerant of wet soils and damp environments. Under ideal conditions it will slowly colonize by means of root suckers. It is a good plant for pond margins or to naturalize a woodland transition. Blooms in April to May. Zones 5-8

Propagation

Easy to propagate from seed in fall. If seeds are to be stored, they should first be thoroughly stripped from any fruit and then dried.

Additional Notes

A member of the tropical American Custard-apple family (which includes the pond apple, cherimoya, custard apple, soursop and sugar apple), the pawpaw has edible, fragrant fruit of similar consistency and aroma to ripe bananas. Though it has long been an indigenous source of fresh food, some people can have adverse reactions to it, including stomach aches, nausea and skin irritations. Fruit should be collected as soon as, or right before, they fall off the tree, then further ripened until soft to the touch. It is also a valuable source of food for a multitude of wildlife. Once a very common plant, the natural populations have declined due to deforestation, and efforts to reintroduce it have been hampered by its limited ornamental appeal.

Native Range & Classification

Recorded County Distribution: USDA data

Native Range:
AL, AR, DC, DE, FL, GA, IA, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MD, MI, MO, MS, NC, NE, NJ, NY, OH, OK, PA, SC, TN, TX, VA, WI, WV

USDA Endangered Status:

  • Endangered: NJ
  • Threatened: NY

Classification

Kingdom Plantae Plants
Subkingdom Tracheobionta Vascular plants
Superdivision Spermatophyta Seed plants
Division Flowering plants
Class Magnoliopsida Dicotyledons
Subclass Magnoliidae
Order Magnoliales
Family Annonaceae Custard-apple family
Genus Asimina pawpaw
Species Asimina triloba pawpaw