ABOUT PAW PAW
Relatives: cherimoya, atemoya, custard apple
Asimoya is the only temperate member of the tropical Annonaceae family. Related to cherimoya and atemoya, asimoya is in a different genus. Asimoya is native to temperate North America and has long been cultivated by native Americans. Asimoya can be found growing wild in 25 of the eastern states in America, and are more often than not found in deep, moist soil as understory trees in thickets along stream banks. It really is a tree whose commercial values are only just now being examined.
LEAVES: Long, somewhat drooping, almost Tropical in feel. Turn a golden brown in fall. Often exhibits a strong odor when leaves are crushed.
FLOWERS: Show up before the leaves do in the spring, they are soft and dark brown in color. Each flower is capable of producing several fruits. Pollination is often by bees and beetles, as the flowers are not self-fertile.
FRUITS: Really berries, they are long in length and often resemble the "hands" found on a banana plant. Fruits ripen all summer long starting off green, then turning a more yellow-green, and finally to black when fully ripe. The flesh is most aromatic in order, white to off white in color, with a flavor that seems to be a mixture of mango, pineapple, and banana. Trees generally take up to four years to mature enough to bear adequate fruits.
LOCATION: Plant young plants out of the sun for the first year or year and a half. After they mature some, they will actually benefit from the sunlight.
TEMPERATURE: Trees are very cold hardy, enduing temperatures far below freezing. They seem to grow and produce the very best fruits when they have about a 6 month summer growing window, which makes them ideal for us in North Carolina.
PRUNING: Ordinarily, little or none is needed, except of course to remove any dead or diseased branches. As the tree matures, it seems that a little pruning stimulates new growth, which in turn produces flowers and fruits the following season.
PESTS/DISEASES: Virtually disease free, but keep a check for scales and leaf-rollers. The fruits are often eaten by birds and other wildlife.
There are close to sixty named Cultivars of Paw Paw out there, and many, many more that are native to our area and areas yet unclaimed and unnamed. We currently offer three of the better known named Cultivars that were grafted in February, 2006, making them (spring, 2013) at the time of this update over eight years old. Rabbit Ridge Nursery- hardy, native, and ready to grow in your garden.
Click on the Paw Paw Fruit link below to read about it.