A different kind of pawpaw

WebEcoist has a nice series of slideshows on “70 Extremely Exotic Plants, Flowers, Forests & Trees.” Kinda silly, I know, but I’m a sucker for photos of weird plants, I guess. Anyway, the one on “Deliciously Exotic Plants, Fruits and Vegetables” puzzled me for a minute because the picture labelled “pawpaw” is certainly no Carica papaya. In my ignorance, I thought the term pawpaw was only ever used as a synonym for papaya. Well, it turns out the fruit in the picture is also called Hoosier banana, and is in fact Asimina triloba. Related to the cherimoya (Annona cherimola), “[t]he pawpaw is native to the temperate woodlands of the eastern U.S. The American Indian is credited with spreading the pawpaw across the eastern U.S. to eastern Kansas and Texas, and from the Great Lakes almost to the Gulf.” There’s a festival devoted to the fruit in Ohio in September. Interestingly, if you search Wikipedia for pawpaw, it sends you straight to Asimina. A Google search also returns mainly Asimina stuff, but if you search images you get a mixture of Carica and Asimina. The dangers of using common names.

5 Replies to “A different kind of pawpaw”

  1. Well… I would have bet that PawPaw was just Asimina triloba… thanks!
    (I’ve got some “it used to be” Asimina triloba seedling sprounting :) )

  2. Some American children of my generation would sing in elementary school, “Way Down Yonder in the Paw paw Patch.” From the Appalachian History website, “Call it the American Custard Apple or the West Virginia Banana, but it’s neither apple nor banana. It’s the Paw-paw (Asimina triloba), the largest native fruit of North America, and it grows throughout Appalachia. There are about seven other members of the genus Asimina, all growing in the southeastern U.S.”


  3. Luis
    Julie Zickefoose has some great american paw-paw posts on her blog. I’m in an airport on mobile so can’t post links but google should hook you up with some interesting detail.

  4. The great “Indiana Bannana”, a delicious and much underappreciated and unimproved type of “wild” fruit which we work with closely here on the farm, good to see it getting some press. More breeders should look closely at this beauty and see it for what it could be, of course the same could be said of the American Perssimmon as well.

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