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(Asimina triloba)

Host Plant: Zebra Swallowtail (Protographium marcellus)

Growth Habit: Deciduous tree that grows to 12-20 feet

Range in North America: Eastern North America from Texas and Nebraska and east

Exposure: Partial sun in medium moisture soil

Hardiness: Zones 4-8

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Pawpaw (Asimina triloba)

Tree of Pawpaw (Asimina triloba).
Pawpaw tree — Pufacz, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Alternative Names

Common Pawpaw, Custard Apple, and Wild Banana

Description of Pawpaw (Asimina triloba)

Pawpaw (Asimina triloba), a member of the Annonaceae (Custard Apple Family), is a small understory deciduous tree that can form clones or patches.  The fruits of this plant are edible and can be eaten raw or in ice cream and baked desserts.  Many varieties of this plant are present in the horticultural trade.

More information about this understory tree can be found on this blog post.

Hosted Species

Zebra Swallowtail (Protographium marcellus)

Zebra Swallowtail butterfly on shrub
Zebra Swallowtail on Vegetation — Andrew Weitzel from Lancaster, PA, USA, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Nectar Species

This species is a nectar plant for a lot of other insects and is also an important food plant for small mammals and birds.


This species grows in the understories of mixed hardwood forests that have partial shade.

Range of Pawpaw (Asimina triloba) in the United States and Canada

Range map of Pawpaw (Asimina triloba) in the United States and Canada.

Interesting Facts

The Annonaceae is a tropical family of plants and the pawpaw is the northernmost growing representative of it.  The name comes from the Arawaken name for Papaya, a tropical fruit (Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center).  The genus name is a Latinized version of the French name of the indian name (Missouri Botanical Garden).

Native Location

Ontario, Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia

USDA Plant Hardiness Zone

Zone 4, Zone 5, Zone 6, Zone 7, Zone 8


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