Tuesday, June 7
I can remember sitting on the front porch in the heat of a Carolina summer evening and listening to my Grandma tell tales of how it was to grow up in the mountains and valleys of the southern Appalachians.
One of my favorite subjects to hear her speak of was the foods that they ate. Many of the everyday foods of the time were the things that most of us today step on, like plantains or spray with weed killer, like dandelions. One fruit she always spoke of with a special kind of delight was the pawpaw.
The pawpaw, or Asimina, is a genus of shrubs or small trees growing in clusters in well-drained fertile bottomland and hilly upland habitats.
The pawpaw usually grows from 6 to 20 feet tall with alternate, oval leaves of an emerald green color. Some northern pawpaw varieties are deciduous, but the southern varieties are usually evergreen. The plant produces large clusters of flowers that vary in color from white to purple to red-brown. The fruit is a large edible berry that contains numerous seeds. It is green when unripe and matures to yellow or brown with a flavor reminiscent of both banana and mango.
The pawpaw is one of the many obscure and little-known plants native to the US. Still, it is rapidly being rediscovered by discerning gardeners and landscapers who have tired of exotic flowers and species that can become invasive and carefully cultivated.
Source of Information on the Paw Paw Tree