WOW-Pawpaw!

Posted on 29. Sep, 2017 by in WOW! Blog

Recently I went on a nature walk with Reed Patterson in the West Branch Nature Preserve. There was much to see including evidence of the beavers that are reshaping the land there. Because it was late summer there were some interesting things hanging from some trees. They were the fruit of the Pawpaw tree. You don’t find pawpaws in the grocery store and except for the folk song most of us know little about pawpaws.

Pawpaws grow in the forest along stream banks or in the understory of forests. The trees grow to about 25 feet tall. The leaves are large- 6 to 12 inches- and drooping. Pawpaw flowers in spring with a maroon bell shaped flower. The fruit appears in clusters and is mango shaped and 4 to 6 inches long. It turns yellow when ripe and then quickly turns dark. Sounds exotic, right?  Wild animals love to eat pawpaw and you may enjoy it too. It has a lot of seeds but has a nice banana-like flavor. Some people call it the banana custard fruit. It’s probably not too late to find them this year but hurry, the raccoons are hunting them too!

Here are a couple of links to more information.

http://www.southernliving.com/garden/trees/paw-paw-tree

http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2011/09/29/140894570/the-pawpaw-foraging-for-americas-forgotten-fruit