Asimina triloba Annonaceae
Common Pawpaw, Custard Apple a-SIM-i-na tri-LO-ba
- Broadleaf deciduous shrubs or more commonly small trees, 15-20 ft (4.5-6 m) tall, but may reach twice that under favorable conditions. Leaves alternate, simple, obovate-oblong, 15-30 cm long, short acuminate tip, the base gradually narrowing into a petiole, margin entire, medium to dark green, uppper surface glabrous at maturity, pubescence on veins below; unpleasant odor when crushed; yellow fall color; Flowers pallid purple, 4-5 cm across, on about 1 cm stalks, sepals greenish pubescent on outside, outer petals broad-ovate, rounded, later reflexed, inner petals smaller and pointed. Fruit shape variable, rounded, ellipsoid to oblong, 5-12 cm long, greenish yellow, finally brown, edible, banana-pear flavored with a consistency of custard; contains 2-3 brown, flattened seeds, each 2-2.5 cm long.
- Sun or shade, best in moist, fertile, deep, slightly acidic soil.
- Hardy to USDA Zone 5 The most cold hardy of the Asimina species. Native range extends from Ontario, north of Lake Erie, New York to Florida, and east to Nebraska and Texas. Once common in the Mississippi valley and the first written reference to the tree and its fruit is in the chronicals of Hernando de Soto's expidition in the area in 1541. A number of cultivars are available. Commercial production of Pawpaw fruit is small but increasing.
- triloba: refers to the 3-lobed calyx.