Horticulture Chair Nancy Percivall introduced us to the pawpaw tree, Asimina triloba. The pawpaw is a deciduous tree native to North America and produces large yellowish-green to brown fruit. The fruit is fragrant and has a distinctly bright, tropical flavor somewhat similar to banana, mango, and pineapple. Nancy made shortbread cookies with a pawpaw fruit filling for members to taste the fruit.
The pawpaw is a patch-forming (clonal) understory tree of hardwood forests, which is found in well-drained, deep, fertile bottomland and also hilly upland habitat. It has large, simple leaves with drip tips, more characteristic of plants in tropical rainforests. A few fun facts: the pawpaw is the only plant on which the larvae of the zebra swallowtail butterfies will feed and if you tear the leaf, it smells like motor oil.