The PawPaw is a uniquely American fruit. The fruit is an interesting dull green that blends nearly perfectly with the forest leaves. When ripe, the golden orange flesh becomes quite fragrant and can be found with a good nose. That fragrance attracts all the forest animals that feast on the pulp and spread the large seeds far and wide.
Typically found in deep moist forest situations it is far more adaptable and grows best in full sun. It grows well in the forest because it does not compete well with grass but if well mulched it makes a beautiful almost tropical looking small tree. It also fruits much better in full sun. It is no different than other plants in that it needs sunlight to produce the energy to support flowers and fruit. It is a basic formula for any tree, Sunlight= Flowers =Fruit.
PawPaws grow in colonies in the forest and many of these colonies are genetically identical since all the trees are grown as root suckers from a parent tree. One of the reason they are so hard to transplant from the wild is that small plants have very few roots of their own. They are growing from the parents root system. This can also be the reason they fruit so lightly in the wild, they need cross pollination from other pawpaws.
PawPaws bloom very early in spring before the surrounding trees have leafed out. They depend on flies to pollinate their flowers and the flowers are said to have the fragrance of rotting meat. ( I have not sniffed one to find out! )
The leaves are large almost Magnolia like and semi-glossy. When bruised, the leaves have a disagreeable odor. The bark is smooth and grey. In deep shade they can grow to 30′ or 40′ tall. In full sun they will grow 20′ to 25′
Seedlings are just that, seedlings. They will be highly variable in flavor, fruit size and quality. They do make good pollinators for improved varieties. They are also be the host plant for the beautiful and elusive Zebra Swallowtail Butterfly.
These are grafted trees of improved selections of PawPaws chosen for better flavor and better fruit production.
Grafted trees will be available very soon
KSU Atwood- This PawPaw was selected for its abundant fruit production. The fruit are not the very largest at 1/4 to 1/2 pounds each but the sheer abundance makes up for it. A mature tree can yield 40 pounds of fruit per year. The fruit are aromatic with tropical overtones. The flesh is creamy and yellow in color.
KSU Benson- This is a productive variety with unique almost round fruit. The aromatic fruit has overtones of Banana, Pineapple and Mango. The flesh is a darker orange color and the fruit has a lower percentage of seed by weight than many other varieties. The fruit are large and the trees are disease resistant.
KSU Chappell- Chappell produces large to very large aromatic, sweet, flavorful fruit. Fruit size averages 1/2 to 3/4 lb with a few that top 1 pound! It is a very fast growing selection with very good disease resistance. Fruit ripens late in the season.
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Seedling, Atwood, Benson, Chappell