"Pawpaw is a deciduous, native, understory tree in the Annonaceae family. Its name is probably a modification of the Spanish papaya. It is native to Canada and the eastern U.S.A. where it grows in deep shade to full sunlight in moist, nutrient-rich forests. It will tolerate occasional wet or moist conditions but prefers good drainage and acidic soil.
"In spring, 6-petaled, purplish-brown flowers mature. In late summer to early fall, pawpaw produces an edible, sweet-tasting, and custard like fruit measuring 2.5 to 6 inches. Harvesting the fruit can be difficult with competition from ambitious wildlife. It is recommended to wear gloves when harvesting as contact dermatitis has been known to occur. The leaves turn a yellow color in the fall and provide interest.
"Pawpaw does well in naturalized, riparian, or woodland areas. It is a flowering tree that attracts butterflies, pollinators, small mammals, and songbirds, which makes pawpaw a good addition to a butterfly, pollinator, or rain garden. Flies and beetles are attracted to the flower of the tree and are beneficial pollinators that contribute to the foul odor of the flower." (North Carolina Extension)
Botanical illustration (Dunal-Curtis)
North Carolina Extension plant description: Asimina Triloba (Common Pawpaw, Pawpaw) | North Carolina Extension Gardener Plant Toolbox. https://plants.ces.ncsu.edu/plants/asimina-triloba/. Accessed 10 Feb. 2022.
Botanical illustration: "Pawpaw, paw paw. Asimina triloba (L.) Dunal- Curtis's botanical magazine s.3 v.26 (1870)" is licensed under CC BY 2.0
Native Range: Southeastern United States
Zone: 5 to 9
Height: 15.00 to 30.00 feet
Spread: 15.00 to 30.00 feet
Bloom Time: April to May
Bloom Description: Purple
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium to wet
Suggested Use: Rain Garden
Flower: Fragrant, Insignificant
Leaf: Good Fall
Fruit: Showy, Edible
Tolerate: Wet Soil