Come enjoy a fall treat in the form of a pawpaw! The pawpaw tree (Asimina triloba) is native to Pennsylvania and there are 31 specimens that can be found at the Arboretum in the Pollinator and Bird Garden, Marsh Meadow, and Childhood’s Gate Children’s Garden. They can grow 15 to 30 feet tall and are tolerant to wet soils, allowing them to thrive in typical Pennsylvania weather.
These trees are unique because they produce the largest edible fruit native to North America. After their cup-shaped purple flowers bloom in the spring, they’ll produce oblong, green fruits that start to ripen in late summer but peak in early fall. These fruits look like small green potatoes, but they are fleshy and sweet. Their flavor is typically compared to the flavor of banana with hints of mango, vanilla, and citrus.
Pawpaw can be eaten raw or used to make pies and desserts (ice cream seems to be a favorite!), but people aren’t the only ones who love them. Raccoons, squirrels, and other wildlife enjoy these fruits, too. Be sure to visit the Children’s Garden for a Harvest Garden Tasting event to try a pawpaw fruit before the critters beat you to it!