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Pawpaw (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

Common Pawpaw, Custard Apple, and Wild Banana

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.

Zebra Swallowtail butterfly (Protographium marcellus)

Zebra Swallowtail Butterfly – Andrew Weitzel from Lancaster, PA, USA, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

It is a nectar plant for a lot of other insects and also is important for small mammals and birds.

Pawpaw grows best in places that have well-drained acidic soil with partial shade.  It ranges from the midwest to eastern North America.

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 (MO Botanical Garden).

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