Asimina triloba, or our native PawPaw tree, lives comfortably on our Eastern Shore and although it only grows to be 30 feet tall, it can fit into many gardens.
Like many smaller trees, it could be an understory tree, fitting in the shade of taller trees, or could be a large shrub in the full sun.
They prefer to grow in full sun but they are fine with some partial shade, and they like their soil to be slightly acidic, moist and well drained.
This is a plant that can be used in a rain garden or alongside of a pond or a stream.
The large 6- to- 12-inch droopy leaves that are a lovely shade of green that lasts until very cold weather changes the green to a bright yellow.
In the early spring the tree blooms with cup shaped flowers in a dark purple which mature into edible fruit.
The 4-inch fruit begins as an oblong yellowish green but will mature in the early autumn to a dark brown when it is ready to harvest and enjoy.
The sweet flavor of the fruit is similar to banana and can be eaten as is or baked into pies or added to ice cream.
As a native plant, our native wildlife also loves to eat the fruit and can enjoy a tasty snack before we realize the fruit is ready for harvest.
(Editor’s Note: Ginny Rosenkranz is a commercial horticulture specialist with the University of Maryland Extension.)