Saxapahaw, NC

The Flower of Carolina


  • Product Info

    Paw-Paw (Asimina triloba)
    Custard Apple Family

    Pawpaw is a small thicket tree that grows in shady understories and woodlands edge. Its main attraction is the unusual fruit. It is the only tropical fruit native to our area and produces the largest fruit (technically a berry) by any tree in North America. Fruits are up to 6” long, with a custard-like flesh that tastes like a banana and mango combined. Best fruit set will occur in full sun, but only mature plants can tolerate that much sun. Either plant in part shade, or provide a shade structure for young (1-3 years) plants located in full sun. It can take 7 years before fruit production begins.You need at least two genetically distinct trees for fruit production. The flowers of Pawpaw are also worth noticing–deep maroon, two inch flowers are very unique in structure and highly attractive. Flowering occurs in late spring, attracting mostly flies due to the carrion-like smell of the flowers. Pawpaws are the only known host plant to the Zebra Swallowtail Butterfly. Butterflies prefer younger plants and can often be seen flitting around in late spring. There are dozens of cultivars available that are bred for larger fruit size, better flavor, and higher production.

    Blooms: Maroon, 2-3 weeks, March-April
    Leaves: Simple, oblong, 6-12” long, drooping
    Height: 15-30’
    Space: 10-20’ 
    Soil: Average-Moist, fertile, organic soil
    Exposure: Part sun-Part shade
    Fauna: Only host to zebra swallowtail and paw paw sphinx moth, fruits are very attractive to mammals, pollinated by flies
    Seeds:3-6" fruits have a custard-like flesh that surround several ½” smooth, brown seeds
    Deer Resistance: High
    Zone: 5-9
    Native Status: NC native, common across the state
    Provenance: NC ecotype, seed grown