Common Names: (Callaway, 1990)
Higher Taxa: (Takhtajan, 1997)
Kral desribes briefly the discovery of the species triloba, stating, "The genus Asimina was proposed by Adanson in 1763. Ten years prior to this date, Linneaus had published the type species, Asimina triloba, as Anona triloba, basing his descriptions upon an illustration of Mark Catesby (Nat. Hist. 2: 85, t. 85)"(Kral, 1959).
The species triloba has many distinguishing features to aid in recognition. The flowers are a dark maroon color and grow up to 1.5 inches across (Chapman, 1872). They have six leathery petals, with three on the the inside surrounded by the other three. The flowers tend to droop along with the fruit and leaves. Normal bloom period lasts from March to May (Chapman, 1872). The fruit is "oblong in shape and a banana-like, yellow-brown berry, very pulpy" (Dean, 1968). Fruits are usually 3-5 inches long, occcuring in clusters, "sweet and very fragrant" (Dean, 1968). Fruits are a yellow-green to brownish color when ripe, and are edible when ripe in October (Duncan and Duncan, 1988). The Pawpaw (species A. triloba) is the largest fruit native to the United States and is well known for its "delicious, custard-like fruit" (Callaway, 1990). Layne then comments, "As the public continues to gain interest in exotic tropical fruits, the Pawpaw will not be overlooked" (Layne, 1996). The leaves are broad, flat, simple, and are arranged alternately along the branches. "They are widest at the apex and tipped with a needle-like bristle" (Moore, 1998). They resemble the leaves of the umbrella tree, but smaller, 4-12 inches long (Coker and Totten, 1937). When bruised, the leaves give off "a distinctive odor, similar to very strong green peppers (Moore, 1998).
Click here forSpecies Identification Key.
A. triloba is common over central and northern Alabama, growing in rich woods from Florida to Texas, Nabraska, and Michigan, native to eastern United States (Gorer, 1976). Pawpaws "flourish in the deep, rich, fertile soils of river bottom lands from as far north as Ontario to as far south as Florida" (Layne, 1996).
Continental United States; Canada
|Eastern North America:
United States east of Mississippi;
Ontario and eastern Canada
|Southeastern United States:
AL AR DE DC FL GA KY MD NC SC TN VA WV
AL GA KY MD NC SC TN VA WV
|Yes||Duncan and Duncan, 1988|
|Coastal Plain||Yes||Dean, 1968|
|Blue Ridge Mountains||Widespread||Duncan and Duncan, 1988|
|Great Smoky Mountains National Park||Widespread||Callaway, 1990|
|Ridge and Valley||Yes||Callaway, 1990|
|Cumberland Plateau||Yes: Kentucky||Callaway, 1990|
|Central Arch||Yes: Ohio||Callaway, 1990|
|Clarke County, Georgia||Yes: Lake Herrick||Amanda Jones, Pers. Ob.|
|Sams Farm||No||Amanda Jones, Pers. Ob.|
|Old Field||No||Amanda Jones, Pers. Ob.|
|Woods||No||Amanda Jones, Pers. Ob.|
|1-Hectare Plot||No||Amanda Jones, Pers. Ob.|
Pawpaws are deciduous trees which prefer warm, dry climates with plenty of sunshine. The are predominant in many flatwoods, old fields, and sandy ridges (Callaway, 1990). Flowers appear with or before the leaves between March and May (Chapman, 1872). Fruits usually do not appear until August and are ripe in October (Dean, 1968). Pawpaws may be planted in either spring or fall. Also, it is a popular fruit among wildlife (Duncan and Duncan, 1988). Click here to view pictures of Fruits and Flowers.
How to Encounter:
Pawpaws (A. triloba) grow in low woods, typically in sandy areas near water. They have a tendency to be close to the edges of forests and live in clusters, similar to a shrub-like environment (Layne, 1996). Locally: The species A. triloba is abundant at Stone Mountain Park, existing at forest edges near nature trails and also near the Riverboat Marina and the catfish pond (Jones, 1998; pers.ob.). Also, the species exists in the Oconee National Forest near the edge of Lake Herrick (Jones, 1998; pers.ob.).
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