There are a lot of Pawpaws growing in the woods around our area. Most of them are the Dwarf Pawpaw (Asimina parviflora). They seem to be quite healthy, and I frequently see their interesting flowers in the Spring. However, I very seldom see any fruits. This year I was happy to see that one of the plants growing right next to our house has several fruits. At this stage they are between two and three inches long, and they are quite hard. As they mature, they will soften and the color will change. They are reputed to be edible and are sometimes called the “poor man’s banana”. When they are ripe, they are eaten by various wild creatures including opossums and raccoons. I intend to try one if any survive.
These very young Pawpaw flowers were photographed this Spring. The flowers emerge before the leave come out. As the flowers mature they turn a deep purple color. They have an unpleasant smell, which is supposed to make them attractive to flies and beetles which pollinate them. It is not clear why our Pawpaws seldom have fruit. Perhaps we don’t enough of the right sort of beetles and flies.
Cross-pollination with another Pawpaw plant is apparently required for fruit development. Many commercial Pawpaw growers hand-pollinate their plants, and I will try this next Spring with our wild plants if the opportunity presents itself.
One of the fruits had an interesting golden drop of juice exuding from it.